Returning Marines said they were the targets of two Iraqi chemical weapons attacks inside Kuwait, but the U.S. government disputes the claim.
Sgt. Ray Lorenzo, who returned from the Persian Gulf during the weekend, said there were two mustard gas attacks on Marines as they swept toward Kuwait City in the war's decisive ground offensive. No one was killed.Lorenzo, who commanded a 1st Battalion, 5th Marines mortar platoon, said the attacks were ineffective because a heavy wind quickly dispersed the gas.
"There was a heavy wind and the chemicals have a short life, so we figured they dispersed really quickly and broke down," Lorenzo said in an interview published Monday in the San Diego Tribune.
The mustard gas, which can blister skin and dissolve lung tissue, was delivered either by artillery shells or rockets, the Marines said.
Lt. Col. Chris Cortez, commander of the 1st Battalion, said he knew of one mustard gas attack. He said it occurred on the second day of the ground offensive but that weather conditions and the small volume of chemical used made the attack ineffective.
Department of Defense officials said Monday they had no reports of any such chemical attacks during the ground battle.
At Camp Pendleton, home base of the returning Marines, spokesman Sgt. Nephi Limb said the soldiers' reports of the failed gas attack could not be confirmed.
"They may be spinning tales," Limb added.