Professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction, this unclassified account of the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing's accomplishments during Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM was prepared to permit members of the "Team Stealth" community to reflect with pride on their contribution to sustained world peace. They proved their mettle in battle and have earned the title of American warrior. It is a testament to their love for country and their willingness to sacrifice for the ideals they defend every day of their lives. The peoples of the United States and the entire Free World are forever in their debt. Nighthawks Over Iraq is based entirely on the contingency historical reports developed by SMSgt Phil Myers during his visit to Saudi Arabia as historian of the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing and the mission tally sheets developed by the wing's operations network.
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The proof of the pudding for stealth technology came during the F-117A's second combat employment, On 19 August 1990, the 37 TFW deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation DESERT SHIELD- That deployment transformed into Operation DE5ERT STORM1s combat operations against Iraq from 16 January to 28 February 1991.
Operation DESERT STORM featured the F-117A in its first real-world test against a modern, integrated air defense. The "Nighthawks" of the 37 TFW repeatedly flew into and through intense anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missile fire, accurately employing 2,000 tons of precision-guided munitions during 1,300 combat sorties. Wing pilots scored 1,600 direct hits against enemy targets in nearly 400 locations. without suffering a single loss, or experiencing any damage, they destroyed hardened command and control bunkers, aircraft shelters, production and storage facilities for nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and other heavily defended targets of the highest military and political significance. Employing just 2-5 percent of the USAF assets in theater, the 37th not only led the U.N. coalition force against Iraq, but also hit nearly 40 percent of the Iraqi targets that came under fire in the first three days. Twenty-nine stealth fighters hit 26 high value targets on the first night alone- the F-117As were so effective that the Iraqi air defense system practically collapsed. Iraq's command, control, and communications network never recovered.