Case Narrative

Kuwaiti Girls’ School

Case Narratives are reports of what we know today about specific events that took place during the Gulf War of 1990 and 1991. This particular case narrative focuses on events at the Kuwaiti Girls’ School. Both UK and US military elements received positive alarms for chemical warfare agent in a storage tank located outside the school wall. However, as stated in our initial narrative in March 1998, analysis of the contents of the tank revealed no chemical warfare agents. Since releasing that narrative, neither the UK Ministry of Defence nor the US Department of Defense has uncovered any information that significantly alters the story. An independent review by the Presidential Special Oversight Board resulted in the recommendation to publish a final report. The Ministry of Defence and the Department of Defense concur with this conclusion and do not plan further investigation unless new evidence emerges.

UK: 44-800-169-4495

US: 1-800-497-6261

Simon Webb
Director General Operations and Policy
Gulf War Illnesses,
UK Ministry of Defence

The Office of the Special Assistant to the
Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and
Readiness) for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical
Readiness, and Military Deployments

US Department of Defense

2000035-0000048 Ver. 2.0


Last Update: September 6, 2001

Many veterans of the Gulf War have expressed concern that their unexplained illnesses may be a result from their experiences in that war. In response to veterans’ concerns, the Department of Defense established a task force in June 1995 to investigate those incidents and circumstances relating to possible causes. The Office of the Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of Defense for Gulf War Illnesses assumed responsibility for these investigations on November 12, 1996. Effective April 5, 2001 this office became the Office of the Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical Readiness, and Military Deployments, with continued responsibility for Gulf War issues. In early 1997, the British Government established a Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses Unit within the Ministry of Defence to coordinate the United Kingdom’s response to issues related to their own Gulf veterans’ illnesses. In July 1997, the British government published a policy statement pledging to investigate incidents where chemical or biological warfare agents were alleged to have been present or detected.

As part of the effort to inform the public about the progress of its efforts, the US Department of Defense and the UK Ministry of Defence are publishing (on the Internet and elsewhere) accounts relating to particular incidents that Gulf War veterans have reported and that could have a bearing on the illnesses now being suffered by Gulf War veterans, along with whatever documentary evidence or personal testimony was used in compiling the accounts. The narrative that follows is such an account. It updates the previous narrative that had been coordinated with several key individuals involved in events at the Kuwaiti Girls’ School. US personnel who directly coordinated with us on the original narrative’s production were Lieutenant Colonel Michael Johnson, Lieutenant Colonel Donnie Killgore, and Colonel (Ret.) John Macel. UK coordination included the sampling team leader, Major Jonathan Watkinson, and the British soldier injured during testing. While these individuals directly reviewed and commented on draft versions of the original document, numerous others provided key information that helped us provide a more comprehensive view of events surrounding the Kuwaiti Girls’ School. We appreciate their assistance and encourage others with additional information to contact us.


A. Background
1. Location and Identification of the Kuwaiti Girls’ School
2. Iraq’s Use of the Kuwaiti Girls’ School as Missile Maintenance Facility
3. Clearance of Unexploded Ordnance in Kuwait
B. Storage Tank Discovered: First Week of August 1991
C. Initial Field Tests (August 5, 1991)
1. Major Watkinson’s Injury
2. Major Watkinson’s Initial Report
D. Fox MM-1 Mobile Mass Spectrometer Testing (August 9, 1991)
E. British Lance Corporal’s Injury
F. Sampling of the Tank’s Contents (August 10, 1991)
G. Tests on the Individual Protective Equipment (August 14, 1991)
H. Permanent Sealing of the Tank (August 14, 1991)
I. Analysis of the Samples by Chemical and Biological Defence Establishment
J. Disposal of the Tank
K. Post-1991 Events
1. 1994 Investigation by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
2. 1997 Presidential Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Investigation
3. Public Attention in the United Kingdom
L. The Joint United States and United Kingdom Investigation
1. 1997 Laboratory Analysis of Inhibited Red Fuming Nitric Acid
2. 1997 Analysis of the Fox MM-1 Tapes
TAB A - Acronyms, Abbreviations, and Glossary
TAB B - Bibliography
TAB C - Methodology for Chemical Warfare Incident Investigation
TAB D - Overview of Inhibited Red Fuming Nitric Acid and Related Health Hazards
TAB E - Individuals/Organizations Involved and Their Respective Roles
TAB F - Matrix Demonstrating What Each Participant Knew about Events
TAB G - Timeline Relating Events and Who Was Involved
TAB H - Fox MM-1 Mobile Mass Spectrometer Printouts from Testing
TAB I - Explanation of SIBCA Kit
TAB J - Analysis of Samples Taken during Third Operation at the Tank
TAB K - US Department of Defense Lessons Learned
1. Communication
2. Document All Reporting Relating to a Potential Chemical Warfare Incident
3. Doctrine, Tactics, Techniques, Procedures, Training and Requirements
4. Coordination of Information among Participants
TAB L - Changes to the Interim Case Narrative


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