On August 2, 1990, Kuwait was invaded by its neighboring Arab state of Iraq. The 1st Marine Division Band was the first military band to be ordered to the Persian Gulf and the only band to go into Kuwait. After many goodbyes, the band's main body departed on September 2, 1990 and arrived in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia the next day, with their instruments following by sea. Almost immediately, the band began the task of providing perimeter security for the Division and its Commanding General, Major General Charles Wilhelm. The first camp was Hall (pronounced Hay) 15, a camp built for oil workers. The Command Post was moved to the desert on September 13 and would remain there until the band returned home.

During Operation Desert Shield, the band also provided musical support as they performed during the Marine Corps Birthday and holiday seasons for all Marines deployed in Saudi Arabia.

The band’s daily mission included perimeter security, foot patrols, mounted patrols, and guard duty for the mobile headquarters, which, during the 100-hour blitz through Iraq and Kuwait, was constantly on the move near the front. During the attack on Iraq-occupied Kuwait, band members cleared paths through bunker systems, and mine fields helping secure the battleground for United States forces. They also helped clear buildings at Kuwait International Airport.

The band returned to the United States from the seven-month deployment to Saudi Arabia March 14 and immediately picked up their horns again.