NEWS | Sept. 29, 2020

Task Force Spartan Hosts Battle of the Bridges Staff Ride

By Story by Sgt. Andrew Valenza Task Force Spartan

On Aug. 2, 1990, unprepared and undermanned, the Kuwait Land Forces, 35th Brigade took a stand against invading Iraqi forces just east of Jahra.

Spartan Soldiers were given a chance to take part in an in-depth tour and learning experience to learn more about their host nation, alongside members of the Kuwaiti Armed Forces and veterans of the battle.

Chief Warrant Officer 3 Benjamin Lewis, Targeting Officer for Task Force Spartan and the 42nd Infantry Division, led the tour.

The tour included a day of classroom presentations and a day of field study. Each day highlighted the main locations of the battle and the parts various units played in it.

“Over the past two days, we participated in a classroom portion of the field study phase that was hosted by the Kuwaiti Land Forces on the [Kuwait Ministry of defense campus], and then day two were in the field study phase,” said Lewis. “We visited the site of the battle of the bridges in the vicinity of Jahra and Sixth Ring Road, we visited the artillery sight just to the west of Ali Al Salem air base, and now we’re here at the Martyr’s Museum in Al-Qurain.”

Known as “the Alamo” of Kuwait, The Martyr’s Museum is the site of an Iraqi attack on a Kuwaiti resistance group known as the Al-Messilah.

During the occupation, the Al-Messilah conducted guerrilla operations against their oppressors. They would sabotage Iraqi artillery and snipe Iraqi Soldiers.

On Feb. 24, 1991, 19 members of Al-Messilah were gathered in a home in Al-Qurain when Iraqi Soldiers attempted to enter the house. The resistance forces stood their ground, sparking a 10-hour long battle.

At the end of the battle, the Kuwaitis had reportedly killed hundreds of Iraqis, but only seven of them made it out alive that night, hiding in the attic when the house was taken.

Lewis noted the importance of why the battles were the focus points in the day’s trip.

“This event laid the groundwork for the U.S. presence in Kuwait and helped really grow the friendship between two great nations. We’re here to celebrate that history and grow on it.”

According to Lewis, these opportunities provide Soldiers a greater understanding of their mission and why the U.S. is in Kuwait.

“It really helps them understand the why of what we’re doing here,” said Lewis. “It’s so much more than day to day operations. The implications here are not only strategic, but they’re bilateral as well, involving us and our Kuwaiti partners.”