This is the story not of a single Marine but of an entire crew of Sailors and Marines
that simply did their duty. I had the privilege of serving with the Sailors and Marines of the USS Wisconsin (BB-64) for one year (July 1990-July 1991.) We served during some
very trying times. Our country had not embarked upon a major war in over 20 years. The
last major war that our country had engaged in was Vietnam. The ghosts of Vietnam
would hang over us as we carried out our duties. Many politicians during that time even presumed that Desert Storm would become a quagmire and another Vietnam.
We were fortunate to be part of the generation that buried the ghosts of Vietnam. We
were also fortunate to have had the backing of Vietnam veterans that supported us,
cheered us, and even led us into combat. They helped to ensure that there would be no
more Vietnams. This leadership minimized our casualties. Those of us that are Desert
Storm veterans owe them a great debt of gratitude. Those Vietnam veterans established a great legacy that we knew we had to live up to.
Almost 300 Americans lost their lives in Desert Storm. And all those who served
will carry those memories with them for the rest of their lives. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about some aspect of Desert Shield or Desert Storm. Some fond memories
that I have are of the very fine fellowship and the bonds of brotherhood developed with my fellow Sailors and Marines. Some more frightening memories are of night actions in
the Gulf, exploding oil wells, choking air soaked with oil, and firefights off Kuwait. All these thoughts are woven into the fabric of my memory, and they certainly impact the
person that I am today.
These are my memories of that time. Some of the dates and times of events have
faded from my memory, but I resurrect them so that my family will understand more
about me, and so that future historians may be able to examine events that occurred, and understand them from the eyes of a young Marine. It is my hope that I might create a
better understanding of what life was like for Sailors and Marines fighting a high-tech war on a World War II battleship.
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