CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait -- "This is where they hid," said the tour guide, pointing at a small hole in the wall. "These were some of the few that survived"
Junior officers stationed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, toured the Al Qurain Martyrs' museum and the Kuwaiti Towers, Jan. 20, 2017 as part of the junior officer's leadership professional development at U.S. Army Central.
The officers walked into the half-torn building. Holes, from bullets and explosions, encompassed the historic site.
Al Azim, a linguist in the USARCENT G37-forward, translated and led the tour for the young officers.
"This location has a very rich history," he said as they walked through the building.
The U.S. Army officers learned about the historic significance of that site, the role the U.S. played, and the importance of the Kuwaiti people's perseverance.
"In the long and storied history of U.S. military engagements, few were as decisive as Operation Desert Storm, and even fewer meant so much to so many in our region," said Maj. Sabah Al Sabah, an operations officer in the Kuwait Army and a graduate of the United States Military Academy. "In 1990…the largest coalition since World War II, drew a line in the sand. The Iraqi aggression against Kuwait would not stand."
Maj. Gen. William Hickman, the USARCENT deputy commanding general-operations said, this rich history is what holds U.S. Army Central and the nation of Kuwait as close partners. As young officers join the ranks, deployments become prime opportunities to "study different cultures, their values, history and their approach to memorializing sacrifices to their nation."
"As guests in Kuwait, it is important that we understand the sacrifices of the Kuwaiti people during the Iraq invasion of Kuwait in 1990," said Hickman. "History teaches of the coalition's efforts to liberate Kuwait, but little is known of the Kuwaiti efforts to resist the Iraqis."
The Al Qurain Martyr's museum is named that because of the sacrifices made at that very location. Nineteen young Kuwaitis from the "Messila" resistance group engaged with the invading Iraqi Army for ten hours before any coalition countries joined the fight.
One of the underlying themes throughout the visit was partnership, said Hickman.
"The more we understand Kuwait and the Kuwaiti people, the better our units can operate in Kuwait," he said.
This idea stems from the USARCENT priorities to preserve U.S. and partner national interests.
"U.S. officers in the region are continuing the mission to make the region, and the world, a safer place," said Al Sabah. "I can unequivocally say that what they are doing here is vital in ensuring U.S. and Kuwaiti national security. And, that matters."