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Operation Desert Sting

On 29 January 1991, the 13th MEU conducted Operation DESERT STING, a raid on the Iraqi occupied island of Maradim. No enemy soldiers were encountered; however, large amounts of equipment, ammunition, and supplies were discovered and destroyed.

Concurrently with Exercise Sea Soldier IV in mid-January, 13th MEU (SOC) moved into the Persian Gulf, having received a warning order to conduct a raid on Umm Al-Maradim Island off the Kuwaiti coast. To support this operation, Kuwaiti Marines were transferred to USS Okinawa to provide interpreter and EPW interrogation support as the MEU (SOC) moved toward the objective area. As an Iraqi radar and listening post, the island was thought to be occupied in company strength.

Having rehearsed the raid during the preceding week, 13th MEU (SOC) assaulted the island on 29 January. For the Marines, however, the raid turned out to be anticlimactic. A Navy A-6, followed by Marine AH-1 helicopters overflew the island and reported it apparently abandoned. When riflemen from C Company, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines landed by helicopter a few hours later, they found no Iraqis. Quickly removing documents and equipment found there, they destroyed Iraqi heavy equipment that could not be removed and returned to the ATF ships. Many documents provided intelligence on the extent of Iraqi mining in the northern Persian Gulf.

The raid demonstrated to the Iraqis the capabilities of the amphibious forces, reinforced the theater deception plan, and captured documents provided intelligence for amphibious operations planning.

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