On This Day in History / August 17, 2023 August 17, 2023 1990: Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM. President George Bush activated the Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) for the first time since its authorization in 1952. CRAF has been formally activated on two separate occasions over the program’s 57-year history. This activation lasted until May 24, 1991, and included long-range international passenger and cargo segments up to Stage II. During Operation Desert Storm, CRAF airlines executed 5,460 missions transporting 726,000 passengers and 230,000 tons of cargo at a cost of $1.4 billion.