General (Ret.) Chuck Horner was the architect of the air campaign that launched the Persian Gulf War, serving as the joint force air component commander. He commanded U.S. and allied air operations for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Saudi Arabia from August 1990 until April 1991. The air war was crucial to the ground war that sealed the Iraqi army’s fate on February 23, 1991 and ended 100 hours later on February 28th. Coalition air crew flew more than 65,000 sorties and dropped 88,500 bombs.
“The thing I used to worry about the most was, what was I not doing that I should be doing?” General Horner said. “What mistakes am I making that may cost somebody’s life? That bedeviled me every minute of every day, so I did a lot of thinking, and I listened to a lot of people. I got some great help from the Air Force and aviation historian Dr. Dick Hallion, and he used to send me boxes of books about wars in the Middle East. I read those books, and believe me, they helped my feeling of the region and my sense of what to do. You never know where you’re going to get information that’s going to pay off. That’s why I think every general ought to be a historian.”