The U.S. air campaign against Saddam Hussein's
regime began with a tremendous bombing campaign against military
targets against Baghdad, Kirkuk and Mosul, he said.
With the beginning of the air campaign, Operation
Iraqi Freedom is now fully under way, he said.
Myers gave a chronology of the actions.
He said the operation started Wednesday with coalition
strikes against air defense sites, surface-to-surface missile
sites and artillery positions. "Some of these targets included
radars in western Iraq and near Basra in southern Iraq,"
Later that day, coalition special operations forces
went into action throughout western and southern Iraq to conduct
reconnaissance operations and to take down visual observation
posts on the southern Iraqi border.
Into this plan came the senior leadership target
of opportunity, the chairman said. "Specifically, we struck
at one of the residences in southeastern Baghdad, where we thought
the leadership was congregated," he said. "We also …
struck intelligence service headquarters in Baghdad and a Republican
Myers said coalition forces hit the targets with
nearly 40 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles. "Two Air
Force F-117s also dropped precision-guided, 2,000-pound penetration
weapons on these leadership targets," he said.
On March 20, coalition ships launched more than
20 Tomahawks against eight targets in Baghdad. One of the targets
housed Saddam Hussein's Special Security Organization. Ten Tomahawks
also hit three Iraqi Republican Guard targets in Kirkuk.
"In the last 24 hours, special forces have
seized an airfield in western Iraq and have secured border positions
in several key locations," Myers said. "Additionally,
Navy SEALs and coalition special forces have seized Iraq's two
major gas and oil terminals in the northern Persian Gulf."
Sailors from coalition ships boarded three Iraqi
tugboats in the Khor Abdullah waterway and found weapons, uniforms
and mines, Myers said. "Our naval vessels are being extra
vigilant to ensure the Iraqi navy has not placed any mines in
international waters," he said.
Myers said ground action started when the 1st
Marine Expeditionary Force, along with British allies, crossed
into Iraq. He said they have secured the port city of Umm Qasr
and the al-Faw Peninsula.
"They have also secured the main oil manifolds
along the al-Faw waterways and have moved through the southern
Iraqi oil fields," he said. "These fields, if we're
successful, should be secured sometime later today, and they will
be a great resource for the Iraqi people as they build a free
At about 10 p.m. EST March 21, "the rest
of the ground campaign began in earnest when the 3rd Infantry
Division rolled into southern Iraq," Myers said. "At
this hour, our ground forces have pushed close to 100 miles inside
Since Operation Iraqi Freedom began, coalition
aircraft have flown more than 1,000 sorties and dropped scores
of precision-guided munitions on Iraqi military targets.
Myers said the coalition is clearly achieving
its objectives, and while they are following the plan, there are
"many unknowns out there."
"We have dropped millions of leaflets over
Iraq telling the Iraqi people our intentions and asking the Iraqi
military to lay down their arms," he said.
Some Iraqi soldiers have surrendered and others
are abandoning their positions, he said. "Certainly, many
Iraqi military are heeding our message that it is better to fight
for the future of Iraq than to fight for Saddam Hussein,"
At 1 p.m. EST March 21, the air campaign against
the regime of Saddam Hussein started. Myers said that several
hundred military targets would be hit over the coming hours.