Sacrifices made in Operation Desert Storm recognized by VFW Post 8904
NOTE: This article originally appeared in the March 7 print edition of The Light and Champion.
Shelby County's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8904 and the Post Auxiliary hosted a wreath laying and commemoration event on Feb 28 to remember the service and sacrifices of Americans who served in Operation Desert Storm.
The event was held at the Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the 1885 Historic Shelby County Courthouse on the downtown square in Center with VFW Post 8904 Quartermaster Larry Hume serving as master of ceremonies.
“It's been 28 years ago today, in 1991, that Operation Desert Storm ended,” he said. The military operation resulted in battle deaths for 148 Americans while another 144 American died in non-battle deaths related to the effort.
Hume said 467 Americans were wounded.
“Coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States began an aerial bombardment of Iraq,” Hume said. “This was in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.”
Hume introduced VFW Post 8904 Service Officer Richard Lundie, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the operation.
Lundie said he was 33 years old stationed at Fort Hood when the operation broke out. While there was back-and-forth talk among his unit members on whether they would be deployed or called upon to stay behind and close down the division's base operations, they eventually were sent a few weeks later.
“We got there before the equipment got there,” Lundie said. The troops arrived about a month before their supplies, which were shipped on cargo ships, arrived.
Lundie shared his memories on his time spent involved in the operation, which gave him a new appreciation for Texas heat.
“That was an experience I don't think anyone would want to share because, we in Texas say it's hot, but this ain't heat,” he said. “Over there it's heat. I got off the plane about 11 o'clock at night and … it was hot.”
He said reports of the size of Iraqi forces had about 200,000 troops while only a few thousand American troops had landed.
“We said 'they could come take us at anytime,” Lundie said. “You don't think you're scared, but you are scared.”
Among the non-battle related issues troops tolerated were drinking hot water and loads of pesky flies that seemed to be ever present, he said.
Hume said on Jan. 16, 1991, President George H. W. Bush announced the start of what would be called Operation Desert Storm — a military operation of coalition forces from 34 nations to expel occupying Iraqi forces from Kuwait, which Iraq had invaded and annexed months earlier.
For photo gallery of event, please click here: