Saudi Arabian Airlines Flight 163, a Lockheed L-1011, became the world's deadliest aviation accident that did not involve a crash. On August 19, 1980, The crew performed an emergency landing at Riyadh after a fire broke out in an aft baggage compartment. The fire burned through the ceiling of the compartment and into the passenger cabin. While the crew managed to land the plane safely, the captain did not stop immediately and order an evacuation. He taxied off the runway instead, by which time everyone in the cabin had become unconscious due to fumes and unable to open any doors or evacuate. All 301 passengers and crew died of suffocation before rescue ground crews could open any door, after which the aircraft burst into flames and was consumed by fire.
Out of fear the Iraqi Army could launch an invasion of Saudi Arabia, US President George H. W. Bush quickly announced that the US would launch a "wholly defensive" mission to prevent Iraq from invading Saudi Arabia, under the codename Operation Desert Shield. The operation began on 7 August 1990, when US troops were sent to Saudi Arabia, due also to the request of its monarch, King Fahd, who had earlier called for US military assistance.
On 29 January, Iraqi forces attacked and occupied the lightly defended Saudi city of Khafji with tanks and infantry. The Battle of Khafji ended two days later when the Iraqis were driven back by the Saudi Arabian National Guard, supported by Qatari forces and US Marines. The allied forces used extensive artillery fire.
Task Force 1-41 Infantry was a U.S. Army heavy battalion task force from the 2nd Armored Division. It was the spearhead of VII Corps, consisting primarily of the 1st Battalion, 41st Infantry Regiment, 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, and the 4th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment. Task Force 1–41 was the first coalition force to breach the Saudi Arabian border on 15 February 1991, and to conduct ground combat operations in Iraq engaging in direct and indirect fire fights with the enemy on 17 February 1991.