Three decades after the first Gulf War, thousands of veterans are still suffering from a series of maladies whose cause has yet to be determined.

In the summer of 1990, Saddam Hussein, having received mixed signals from American diplomats over his issues with Kuwait, invaded the country.

After his capture many years later, Hussein said in interviews that had he known that the U.S. was so vehemently opposed to his invasion he would have never entertained the thought. But invade he did and his forces quickly overran Kuwait.

Soon after, the U.S. began building up a coalition of troops from 35 nations. Desert Shield gave way to Desert Storm. Beginning on January 17, 1991, the U.S.-led coalition commenced a six-week bombing campaign unleashing its tremendous airpower and technological advantage over Iraq. The coalition smashed the Iraqi forces, swept the air force from the skies, pummeled and rendered ineffective Iraq’s air defense artillery, considered by Iraq’s Russian allies as nearly impregnable, and destroyed its command and control facilities.