USACE Employee Remembers the Kuwait Liberation

On February 26, a special day for Kuwaiti citizens – a day celebrated with fireworks, store sales, horns honking and flags flying – there is one U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civilian employee who feels especially proud to have been part of the coalition liberating force that set Kuwait free in 1991.

Michael Corcoran, a U.S. Department of the Army civilian contracting officer technical representative with the Army Corps of Engineers Transatlantic Division’s forward deployed Transatlantic Expeditionary District, first arrived in Kuwait in 1991, as a private first class with the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), 311th Military Intelligence Battalion.

Michael Corcoran, a contracting officer technical representative with the Transatlantic Division’s forward deployed Expeditionary District, on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Feb. 26, 2024. USACE PHOTO BY RICHARD BUMGARDNER

Corcoran deployed for Operation Desert Storm following the invasion of Iraqi forces into their much smaller neighbor, Kuwait.

Once his active-duty enlistment in the Army ended, he never thought he would be back to Kuwait in an official capacity, let alone as a civilian working for the Army Corps of Engineers.

Now, as he sees the celebrations throughout Kuwait City, very similar to how we celebrate July 4th but with Kuwaiti flags and green, white and red national colors displayed everywhere, he looks back at his former service with pride, knowing his career had come full circle on this 33rd anniversary of the liberation of Kuwait.

“It wasn’t until I came back over here working for the Army Corps of Engineers, as an civilian, did I realize February 26th is a public holiday in Kuwait and celebrated as Liberation Day.,” Corcoran said. “That makes me proud knowing I played a part in the inaugural events of February 26. That is pretty cool.”

Here Corcoran is being promoted while deployed. COURTESY PHOTO BY USACE, EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

He is currently deployed with the Expeditionary District from the Army Corps of Engineers’ Nashville District, where he is a senior mechanic, responsible for the maintenance of several district dams.

“We came over here, assisted an ally, accomplished our mission, and went home,” Corcoran said. “Now that I’m back over here with USACE, it’s a bit less stressful but equally rewarding in terms of accomplishing goals and helping people.”

Corcoran initially deployed in 1990 to Saudi Arabia, followed by Kuwait in 1991, and over the years he has stayed in contact with a handful of Soldiers from his deployed unit.

The temporary shelter where former Private 1st. Class Michael Corcoran, a former soldier with the 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault, 311th Military Intelligence Battalion, lived in the desert of Kuwait, during the liberation of Kuwait, 1991. Corcoran is now an Army Corps of Engineers civilian employee, and reflected on the circle his life has taken over the past 33 years back to Kuwait. COURTESY PHOTO BY USACE, EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

“Desert Storm was a huge event in my life,” he said. “Not only for what we accomplished, but also for the people I met and served with.”

The core of Mike’s platoon from Desert Storm, 33 years later, are still close friends today.

“We have regular get togethers around the U.S., so when I was preparing for this deployment, my wife scheduled a going away dinner with close friends at our house. Three guys that deployed with me to Desert Storm where at that dinner.”

Michael Corcoran inspects an electrical box on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Feb. 26, 2024. USACE PHOTO BY RICHARD BUMGARDNER

On this 33rd Kuwait Liberation Day, thank you to Corcoran, his battle buddies, and all our USACE team members that participated in Desert Storm, helping to liberate the country of Kuwait.

Editor’s Note: The Expeditionary District, whose motto is “Always Forward,” is the Army Corps of Engineers’ only contingency district, dedicated to meeting the challenges of providing theater-wide engineering solutions and expertise in support of U.S., Coalition, and Host Nation efforts throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

 

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