The Gulf War – 20 Years Later

I opened my mailbox the other day and saw an envelope marked, “Gulf War Review – Information for Veterans who served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.”

My mind flashed back. I was a 30 year old First Sergeant from Carswell Air Force Base in Fort Worth, Texas being sent to support another wing that was deployed.  Rather than a huge troop transport loaded with people, there were two of us (plus the aircrew) flying in a KC-135. The KC-135 is a tanker used to refuel other aircraft, but we were hauling cargo into the classified location.  After flying for 26 hours and half-way around the world, I remember walking off the aircraft onto the tarmac–what a strange mixture of apprehension and excitement.

Our wing was one of the few to lose an aircraft and three of her six crewmembers. I remember attending a non-denominational gathering to remember those we lost and to give thanks for the three who were saved.  I can still see it in my mind’s eye.  It was a bright, sunny morning. The air was calm, it was quiet, and there wasn’t a breeze.  It was eerie, almost like nature knew we were mourning the loss of friends and fellow airmen. As the third name of the deceased was read, the breeze picked up and three little birds flew into the large tent where we were gathered.  The crowd noticed and a low murmur broke out.  It was like our friends had new wings and had come to let us know they were okay.  We left that gathering with a renewed spirit.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years this August.  I opened the envelope and found a poster honoring Gulf War Veterans along with an 11-page newsletter primarily dealing with the 12 major health issues faced by Gulf War veterans and what the Veterans Administration was trying to do about them. I consider myself among the lucky-alive and healthy.


About Tom Branch

Tom Branch has written 597 posts in this blog.

Have you ever just met someone, but felt you like you'd known him for years? That's what most people experience with Tom. He has a knack for making folks feel right at home. After 21 years in the Air Force, loyalty and honesty are the foundation of everything Tom does. In addition to being a Texas Real Estate Broker, Tom is a Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) and a Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).