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Chronology of US Military Developments in Gulf With PM-Gulf-Attack Bjt

September 22, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Here is a chronology of U.S. military developments in the Persian Gulf since the attack on the USS Stark in May:

May 17 - U.S. frigate Stark is attacked in the gulf by Iraqi warplane; 37 crew members die. U.S. officials term the attack an inadvertant mistake by Iraqi pilot.

May 19 - President Reagan says in a speech that Stark tragedy ″must never be repeated″ and says U.S. forces in the gulf will have more leeway to protect themselves from military threats.

May 21 - U.S. Coast Guard issues waivers of U.S. maritime law to allow speedy reflagging of Kuwaiti tankers under U.S. colors.

May 29 - Pentagon officials report major U.S. military buildup in gulf is planned to protect Kuwaiti tankers.

June 10 - Administration officials predict U.S. Mideast Task Force will temporarily swell to about a dozen ships and then return to standing force of eight to 10 ships.

June 11 - Reagan is unable to persuade allies at the Venice summit to make similar military commitments in the gulf, but says he is ″gratified completely″ at general support for U.S. policy.

June 16 - Gulf-based maritime executives say Iran is mining the gulf.

June 18 - The White House characterizes the threat to U.S. personnel in the gulf as ″low to moderate.″ House Armed Services Chairman Les Aspin, D-Wis., says Navy is underestimating threat from mines.

June 30 - Reagan, unswayed by objections during meetings with congressional leaders, says United States will proceed with plans to escort gulf tankers.

July 1 - U.S. specialists aboard a four-boat Arab minesweeping flotilla remove 10 to 12 mines near Kuwaiti ports.

July 3 - Administration postpones plans to send U.S. minesweeping helicopters to the gulf, deciding to rely on the Arab ships.

July 9 - Iranian gunboat attacks U.S.-flagged tanker Peconic with rocket- propelled grenades. Tanker is set afire but no one is injured.

July 15 - Senate Democrats, unable to overcome a filibuster by the minority Republicans, drop proposal to delay reflagging and escorts.

July 18-20 - Reflagging of Kuwaiti tankers begins.

July 19 - U.S., Saudi and Kuwaiti teams complete month-long minsesweeping operation in channel leading to Kuwaiti oil terminal.

July 20 - United Nations Security Council adops resolution calling for cease-fire in 7-year-old Iran-Iraq war.

July 21 - U.S. convoy operations begin.

July 24 - Reflagged supertanker Bridgeton hit by ″very large explosion″ after striking mine in narrow channel near Farsi Island. Tanker, listing to one side, limps into Kuwaiti port. U.S. military sources say after the incident that U.S. minesweeping capability in gulf is ″virtually nil.″

July 26 - Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger says U.S. minesweeping capability in gulf will be improved. Over next 10 days, minesweepers are dispatched along with the helicopter carrier Guadalcanal, carrying mine- detecting choppers.

July 31 - U.S. Navy helicopter crashes in gulf, killing four crewmen.

Aug. 6 - Military officials predict U.S. force in region will rise to at least 24 ships carrying estimated 15,000 crew members.

Aug. 7 - Lawsuit filed by 114 members of Congress seeking to invoke the War Powers Act, under which U.S. commitment in gulf would need congressional approval to extend for more than 60 days. Administration denies that gulf situation meets the act’s ″imminent danger″ test.

Aug. 8 - U.S. Navy F-14 Tomcat fighter fires two missiles at Iranian jet approaching an unarmed U.S. surveillance plane. Both missiles miss but Iranian jet retreats.

Aug. 10 - U.S.-operated supertanker Texaco Caribbean strikes mine in Gulf of Oman anchorage previously assumed to be safe.

Aug. 20 - Iran admits sowing mines to ″defend our coastline″ in the gulf.

Aug. 26 - Pentagon grants ″danger pay″ supplements to 10,000 personnel in gulf; administration says still no ″imminent danger″ to warrant invoking War Powers Act.

Sept. 1 - Latest Pentagon figures show 26 U.S. warships and support ships in gulf and adjacent Arabian Sea.

Sept. 4 - Silkworm anti-ship missile of type used by Iran explodes on Kuwaiti soil.

Sept. 9 - Two U.S. sailors aboard cruiser in the gulf injured by premature detonation of cannon shell.

Sept. 18 - Navy jet with two aboard crashes in Arabian Sea; search called off three days later with crewmen presumed dead.

Sept. 21 - U.S. helicopter attacks Iranian ship found to be laying mines. Iranian ship left ″dead in the water″ after fire on board is extinquished.

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