The Mars Invasion: Three Years Later

The pics from the huge sandstorm during the invasion of Iraq are as surreal today as they were in 2003.

A US Marine Corps (USMC) M1A1 ABRAMS Main Battle Tank (MBT), assigned to 2nd Tank Battalion, D/Company, 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 5th Marines, arrives in Northern Iraq, during a sandstorm. USMC personnel are in Iraq in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Camera Operator: LCPL ANDREW P. ROUFS, USMC Date Shot: 26 Mar 2003

From the Defense Visual Information Center, which I haven’t figured out how to link to pic preview pages on. This is image ID: DMSD0401588.


  1. OT: I am trying to find out what the 6×6 APCs assigned to IA 3 Bde/1 Div are? Saw them in background of Fox news along with M1114s.

  2. I remember General Jumper -then chief of staff of the air force- speaking on this at a VMI function. I’m paraphrasing: ‘the press said the sandstorm had paralyzed coalition forces. That was news to me, we were still in the middle of multiple combat operations.’ great pic, although I really wish you’d stop stealing all the good shots off the armed forces websites…you leave us with nothing man!

  3. Not ‘paralysed’, exactly; combat operations had to shift their weight so as not to do to power equipment what happened to the Iranian hostage rescue mission helicopters. Without a way of avoiding that, simply going ahead would have been disastrous. That’s one reason why it would have been a huge risk to advance on Baghdad in the Gulf War, before arrangements had been worked out. Those arrangements included not running ahead with motorised equipment, and that’s what was done the second time around. But I was interested to see whether that particular screw up would happen. It didn’t.