From the Hangars

New Temporary Exhibit Opens

Mar 21, 2016

The Delta Flight Museum is proud to announce the opening of its newest temporary exhibition Our Objectives Are Clear: 25 Years After the Persian Gulf War. The exhibition includes artifacts, images, and stories from current Delta employees who participated in this conflict.

Image of Persian Gulf War Exhibition at the Delta Flight Museum

“Our objectives are clear: Saddam Hussein’s forces will leave Kuwait. The legitimate government of Kuwait will be restored to its rightful place, and Kuwait will once again be free.” –President George H.W. Bush, January 16, 1991

President Bush’s remarks to the country came on the first day of Operation Desert Storm, a U.S.-led military action against Iraq’s hostile occupation of Kuwait, which Iraq had invaded and annexed months earlier.

After 25 year it is difficult to remember the anxiety felt in the months leading up to Operation Desert Storm. The large scale mobilization of America’s National Guard separated families and disrupted communities. Iraq’s military, led by the Republican Guard, was thought to be the fourth largest in the world, and Saddam had already demonstrated his willingness to use chemical weapons. The U.S. had spent decades developing a military to fight against the Soviet Union, and was less prepared to fight in the desert climate of the Middle East. These were only a few of the concerns that politicians, military leaders and the public grappled with in the months preceding Operation Desert Storm.

Image of Persian Gulf War Exhibit at the Delta Flight Museum showing exhibit case

The decisive victory (Iraq retreated from Kuwait within 42 days) answered many of these concerns and demonstrated that the U.S. military could use state-of-the-art technologies to overwhelm and subdue a hostile foe. The military success also established what has become the most enduring legacy of the 1991 Persian Gulf War: as the country witnessed live on their television the professionalism, the effectiveness and the sacrifice of military personnel a renewed pride for the American soldier took hold that continues strong to this day.

Image of Persian Gulf War Exhibit at the Delta Flight Museum showing chocolate chip desert camo uniform

One of the most compelling artifacts included in the exhibition is the flight helmet of SPC Chuck Tadrzack who flew in a CH-47D Chinook helicopter during Operation Desert Storm. Just before starting a new position with Delta Air Lines in the summer of 1990, Tadrzack’s unit was called into service. Delta assured him that his position would be held until he returned. Inspired by his new employer's loyalty, Tadrzack painted Delta widgets on either side of his helmet.

Image of Persian Gulf War Exhibit at the Delta Flight Museum showing flight helmet with Delta widget

Delta Air Lines’ commitment to the troops was also demonstrated by participating in the Civilian Reserve Air Fleet. CRAF was a relationship between the U.S. Military and civilian airlines to provide access to aircraft when large numbers of military personnel needed to be transported. Though the relationship was developed in 1952, it was not until 1990 that CRAF was put into action. Along with filling the immediate need of transporting troops and freeing military aircraft to move equipment to the Middle East, airlines employees used the opportunity to build the troops morale by sharing cards, letters and posters from U.S. schoolchildren.   

In addition to stories of the conflict, the exhibition features video of CNN’s exclusive coverage of the initial air attacks on Baghdad. This live coverage became an important milestone for CNN’s move from a cable news upstart to a national leader in broadcast journalism.

Our Objectives Are Clear will be on display at the Delta Flight Museum until the end of August 2016.

If you have stories of your Persian Gulf War service you would like to share, please contact Timothy Frilingos at

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