The Pentagon announced that 2,600 U.S. Marines would be deployed to Somalia for Operation United Shield to assist in the final withdrawal of UN peacekeeping troops from Somalia. The decision came in response to a UN request for American protection of its peacekeeping forces serving in the war-torn African nation.
The first elements of Marine Aircraft Group 24, commanded by Colonel Lyle H. Meyer, landed at Lingayen, Luzon, Philippine Islands, to provide close air support for Army forces. Over the next three months, MAG-24 and MAG-32 would fly a total of 8,842 combat sorties and drop more than 19,000 bombs as part of the Fifth Air Force in support of the Sixth Army.
Operation Desert Shield became Operation Desert Storm as forces of the allied coalition launched an all-out air campaign against targets in Iraq and occupied Kuwait in an effort to liberate Kuwait and enforce the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. Overall, in the theater of operations, the coalition forces included more than 415,000 U.S. troops.
Marines of the 1st Marine Division began mopping-up operations against guerrillas in the Pohang area, South Korea, following the Division's return from its epic battle with Communist Chinese troops at the Chosin (Changjin) Reservoir.
The second battle for Khe Sanh began when Marines from the 3d Battalion, 26th Marines attacked a North Vietnamese battalion between Hill 881 South and Hill 881 North. More than 100 of the enemy were killed.
The 1st Aeronautical Company arrived at Ponta Delgada, Azores, for anti-submarine duty. That unit was one of the first completely equipped American aviation units to serve overseas in World War I.
Operation Dewey Canyon, perhaps the most successful high-mobility regimental-size action of the Vietnam War, began in the A Shau/Da Krong Valleys when the 9th Marines, commanded by Colonel Robert H. Barrow, and supporting artillery were lifted from Quang Tri. By 18 March the enemy's base area had been cleared out, 1617 enemy dead had been counted, and more than 500 tons of weapons and ammunition unearthed.
Marines and seamen from the U.S. sloop DECATUR went ashore at the village of Seattle, Washington, to protect settlers from Indian raids. The Indians launched a seven-hour attack but were driven off later that day after suffering severe losses. Incredibly, only two civilian volunteers were killed and no Marines or sailors were lost.
About 400 Marines and sailors from the 2d Marine Division, 2d Marine Aircraft Wing, and 2d Force Service Support Group deployed for the Persian Gulf. The Contingency Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) CM 2-88 would relieve Contingency MAGTF 1-88 in the volatile Persian Gulf and provide the effective landing force capability to Joint Task Force Middle East.
The first serious ground fighting of Operation Desert Storm broke out when Iraqi troops mounted an attack into Saudi Arabia along a 40-mile front. Iraqi units centered their efforts on Khafji, a port city six miles south of the border. Saudi and Quatari troops, supported by artillery from the 1st Marine Division and attack helicopters and other allied coalition aircraft, recaptured the town two days later.