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Trucks of Peace Series:

The US Military is the single greatest supplier of humanitarian aid to those in crisis. American military trucks are first in peace, first in the hearts of those in need around the world. VIT is exploring the captivating and often heartwarming stories of military trucks in the battle against need as they deliver life-saving supplies.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.

Operation Provide Comfort: During this operation in Iraq, US forces used trucks to transport supplies to Kurdish refugees in the region.

It was 1991, and the Gulf War had just ended. But for the people of northern Iraq, the war was far from over. Saddam Hussein’s forces had ruthlessly suppressed a rebellion by the Kurdish people, forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and seek refuge in the harsh, unforgiving terrain of the Iraqi mountains.

It was in this desperate situation that the United States launched Operation Provide Comfort, a massive humanitarian effort to provide aid and assistance to the Kurdish people in the face of decades of persecution, chemical warfare, and forced starvation at the hands of terrorists working under Saddam Hussein.

True Evil and Great Suffering:  Mass Graves of Kurdish Women and Children

Apart from the threat of starvation, Kurds were routinely massacred under Hussein’s regime, causing them to flee their homes. “Kurdish officials say the whereabouts of thousands who went missing in (Saddam Hussein’s) campaign remain unclear, with their families still trying to find out if they are alive or buried in Iraq’s southern deserts,” VOA reports.

“The victims are buried on top of each other and they are mostly women and children,” Omar said. “Separating the bodies is difficult because many of them are infants, between 1 and 2 years of age, buried between their mothers’ arms.”

US Soldiers to the Rescue

Operation Comfort lasted for five years, involving the deployment of thousands of US troops and the coordination of a vast logistics operation to transport supplies to the refugees, much of which was coordinated through truck supply lines.

According to the Department of Defense,  “Lacking food, clean water, clothing, blankets, medical supplies and shelter, the refugees suffered enormous mortality rates.” 

Along with airdrops, US troops, “transported 119 tons of food and water and more than 4,000 bundles of clothing to the Iraqi Kurds during the winter of 1991-92,” reports the DOD. They ferried everything from food and water to medical supplies and tents.

These trucks would travel in convoys, protected by armed guards to ensure their safety in a region that was still rife with danger.

It was a challenging environment. The terrain was unforgiving, and they were constantly under threat from ambushes and attacks. But American soldiers saved lives. – they were bringing hope and assistance to people who had been abandoned by the world.

“Our delegation was inspired to witness firsthand the enduring effects OPC has had on the ground, and the warm welcome extended to us by President Barzani and the Kurdish Government in Erbil reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-Kurdish bilateral relationship that continues today. Simply put, the Kurdish people have not forgotten.”

General James L. Jones, USMC (Ret.)