Veteran Returns Letter - Embassy Photo.jpg

Thomas Little, a retired Army Transportation Corps captain, second from left, presents the book he found in 1991 during Desert Storm in Kuwait City to His Excellency Salem Al Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, second from right, at the Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington D.C. Little’s sons, Sean, left, and Matthew, right, accompanied him to the ceremony Dec.1. (Contributed Photo)

FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 14, 2017) -- Tom Little made a commendable decision in 1991 to save a valuable book that likely would have been lost or destroyed. Nearly 26 years later, he was able to return it to its rightful owner.

The Prince George County resident and CASCOM employee was an Army captain deployed to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm. In his capacity as the 15th Transportation Company commander, he was leading a convoy of his Soldiers north from Saudi Arabia to Kuwait City. They arrived a few days after the city was liberated from the occupying Iraqi forces.

During an initial patrol, Ltittle came to Al Seif Palace, a royal residence that had taken a direct missile hit during the war and was burned and then looted by the Iraqi soldiers.

Little noticed a pile of books from the palace burning in the courtyard. He picked up a book titled “Islamic Ideology and its Impact on our Times” that was not on fire. He noticed it had been signed by the author and presented to the Emir of Kuwait in 1967.

Little saved the book and read it upon his return to Saudi Arabia. He enjoyed it so much that he took it with him to Germany where he was stationed and eventually back to the United States.

When he moved to Fort Lee, the book was packed away with other Army memorabilia in the garage. Since Desert Storm, he has been stationed in Saudi Arabia three times with his family and has visited Kuwait with them.

“I really enjoyed taking my wife and sons to Kuwait to show them where I was during Desert Storm,” Little said. “Kuwait is a wonderful country and I still find them very thankful for Americans liberating them”.

In 2016, following the 25th anniversary of Desert Storm, Little found the box and located the book. He decided it belonged to the Emir and the people of Kuwait and wanted to return it. He was not sure who to contact, so he reached out to the Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington D.C. The Kuwaiti ambassador to the United States, His Excellency Salem Al Sabah, was pleased to find out about the book and arranged for Little to come to the Kuwaiti Embassy to meet him.

On Dec. 1, Little – accompanied by his sons Sean and Matthew – went to the Kuwaiti Embassy. He brought his sons with him since he and his family had visited Kuwait and Al Seif Palace when they lived in Saudi Arabia after Desert Storm.

Little told the ambassador, “The book is not mine, but belongs to the Kuwaiti people and is part of their culture and heritage. Kuwait is where the book belongs.”

The ambassador thanked him on behalf of the Kuwaiti people for the return of the book, and said it would be sent back to Kuwait immediately and returned to the library at the Al Seif Palace.

Little, now retired, works as an Army Civilian at CASCOM G3.