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Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia: Feb. 22, 2001

This particular case narrative focuses on events that occurred during the war at Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia. We published the original Al Jubayl case narrative on Aug/ 13, 1997. Since that time, we have received many comments from veterans and other concerned individuals about the narrative, especially about the investigation of the loud noise event. Veteran comments, new information, and the development of alternative scenarios to explain the loud noise event expanded the investigation of this event. This version of the narrative presents the results of our latest investigation and analysis, updating what we provided in the 1997 narrative. This is an interim, not a final, report. We hope that you will read this and contact us with any information that would help us better understand the events reported here. With your help, we will be able to report more accurately on the events surrounding the incidents reported in this narrative. Please contact my office to report any new information by calling: 1-800-497-6261


I. Methodology

Read the methodology:


II. Summary

This Case Narrative details three significant events that occurred in and around the greater Al Jubayl area during Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm. These events are known as the "loud noise" event, the "Scud impact" event, and the "purple T-shirt" event. Also included is a short history of Al Jubayl, a discussion of the local environment in which military personnel lived and worked, and a synopsis of medical studies involving Seabees from Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 24 who reported experiencing post-war medical problems.

A. Loud Noise Events


B. Scud Impact Event


C. Purple T-shirt Event


D. Environmental Factors


E. Medical Issues


III. Narrative

A. Background


B. History of Al Jubayl


C. Involved Units


D. Investigation of the Loud Noise Event of Jan. 19, 1991


E. Investigation of the Loud Noise Event of Jan. 20-21, 1991


F. Investigation by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence


G. U.S. Analyses of the Suspected Aircraft Fuel Leak


H. Scud Missile Impact


I. Purple T-shirt Event


J. Environmental Factors and Other Related Topics


K. Medical Issues


IV. Assessment

Since publishing the original Al Jubayl case narrative on Aug. 13, 1997, we have made a significant effort to ensure we accurately portrayed and accurately assessed the events at Al Jubayl. The alternative scenarios for the loud noise, presented by two individuals to us during the Sept. 5, 1997, meeting, broadened the scope of the investigation and led us to study veterans’ theories about the loud noise. The British Ministry of Defence report also provided additional information about aspects of the events covered in the original narrative. The assessments in this narrative update build upon assessments in the original narrative.

A. Assessment of the Lout Noise Event of Jan. 19, 1991


B. Assessment of the Loud Noise Event of Jan. 20-21, 1991


C. Assessment of the Scud Impact Event of Feb. 16, 1991


D. Assessment of the Purple T-shirt Event of March 19, 1991


V. Lessons Learned

Read the lessons learned:


Tab A: Acronyms/Glossary

This tab provides a listing of acronyms and abbreviations found in this report. Additionally, the Glossary section provides definitions for selected technical terms that are not commonly used.





Tab B - Units Located in or Deployed Through Al Jubayl

NOTE: Unit listings are too lengthy to include in this printed document. A sample listing is provided for coordination purposes.


Tab C. Biblography

View the bibliography:


Tab D. Methodology for Investigating Chemical Warfare Incidents

Common DOD framework:


Tab E. Saudi Environmental Monitoring

The Saudi Royal Commission developed an extensive monitoring system to detect pollutants in the air, ground water, seawater, and wastewater. According to the US Navy’s Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit Number 2, the monitoring staff was well-qualified and used state-of-the-art equipment to monitor, compile, and analyze data on a regular basis.

Air Quality Monitoring


Water Quality Monitoring


Tab F. Monitoring Station Number One Air Quality Summaries

Note: Monthly air quality summaries are too lengthy to include in this printed document.

This tab provides only a sample for coordination purposes.


Tab G. Location of British Military Units in Al Jubayl

British forces units in Al Jubayl


Tab H. Rear Area Operations Center (RAOC) Radio Log

View pages from the log


Tab I. General Accounting Office Comments

The General Accounting Office (GAO) reviewed the interim Al Jubayl case narrative and included its findings in a report entitled, "Gulf War Illnesses: Procedural and Reporting Improvements Are Needed in DoD’s Investigative Processes." Based on their review, the GAO recommended that the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses (OSAGWI), which is now the Office of the Special Assistant for Gulf War Illnesses, Medical Readiness, and Military Deployments, revise the narrative to include information regarding the medical problems that some Seabees from NMCB-24 have experienced since their return from the war.

The GAO’s finding and the Office of the Special Assistant's response follow.


DOD Response


J. Changes in this Report

The Al Jubayl case narrative, originally published on August 13, 1997, reported on investigations of three separate events, known as the loud noise event, the Scud Impact event, and the Purple T-shirt event. All three events occurred during the Gulf War at the port city of Al Jubayl, Saudi Arabia.

Since we published the initial narrative, new information has emerged that necessitates an update to the case narrative.


Tab K. End Notes

View the End Notes