In response to Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush ordered 540,000 American troops to the sands of Saudi Arabia to protect it from Iraqi encroachment and to convince Iraq to leave Kuwait. Louisiana residents Corporal Jeff Loupe, Corporal Jeff Sheets, and Corporal Jude St. Clair were sent as a part of this military buildup and played important roles in the Persian Gulf War. All three were members of a Marine Light Helicopter Squadron (HML-767) NOMADS, based out of Belle Chasse, Louisiana. The Louisiana marines landed in Al Jubial, Saudi Arabia on December 31, 1990 and spent the first weeks of their deployment preparing for chemical and biological weapons attacks—a major concern since Iraq's dictator, Saddam Hussein, had threatened to use them to repel an American invasion. When the air war (Operation Desert Storm) began on January 16, 1991, the HML-767 was sent into action, flying command and control missions around the clock to support U.S. air power. As helicopter mechanics and technicians, Loupe, Sheets, and St. Clair worked grueling 12-hour shifts to keep UH-1N "Huey" and AH-1T "Cobra" attack helicopters flying while American air power continued to blast Iraqi targets for over a month. When the ground war got underway on February 24, the HML-767 supported the 2nd Marine
Division by providing armed air support, flying Medivac and command and control missions, and performing psychological operations (psyops). Psyops involved dropping demoralizing pamphlets and broadcasting demoralizing audio over enemy fortified positions to convince them to surrender without a fight. Indeed, most Iraqi soldiers did give up very easily, which was one of the main reasons for a quick American victory in the ground war. The HML-767 performed brilliantly and even received a Navy Unit Commendation (NUC) for its intense flight schedule and superior flight readiness record. More important, though, the Louisiana-based unit played an important role in minimizing American casualties and helping America win the war.