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NARRATIVES

 

Narratives: 1990-2000

WOMEN IN THE MILITARY
Women have played important military roles since the Revolutionary War. Although unfairly treated in early wars, they distinguished themselves in teaching sanitation, nursing and spying. Disguised as men, they fought on battlefields. Although women were authorized to serve as nurses in 1861, they were not eligible for health care, salary and a uniform until 1899. During World War II, opposition to women in the military was strong. In May of 1942, the Women’s Auxiliary Corps was formed to serve with the Army but did not receive military status until August 1943. The Nurse Corps was denied rank until 1947 and veteran status until 1977. Women are now integrated into the military and serve in all capacities and levels of command.

BLACKS IN THE MILITARY
Black Americans were initially recruited to serve in the Revolutionary War. Post-war laws first denied Blacks access to military service, but they eventually fought and served valiantly in all of the wars since 1812. Initially denied freedoms, suffering rejection and segregation, they proved themselves capable and courageous in fulfilling escalating responsibilities in recognition of their abilities. Fully integrated at the start of the Korean conflict and since, Black Americans confirmed their ability to perform in battle and at high levels of responsibility.

PERSIAN GULF INVASION
In August 1990, Iraq invaded and occupied neighboring Kuwait. The United Nations and the Arab League condemned the action and imposed an economic embargo on Iraq. An international force gathered in Saudi Arabia to prevent further Iraqi aggression. On 17 January 1991, after a withdrawal deadline had passed, the United Nations Coalition, led by the United States, began a massive air attack called Operation Desert Storm.

OPERATION DESERT STORM
On 17 January 1991, the Gulf War air campaign was launched by a coalition led by the United States after Iraq failed to comply with the United Nations deadline to withdraw from Kuwait. Command centers, radar installations, military bases and other targets near Baghdad were destroyed. Continued bombing attacks destroyed Iraqi military units, enemy convoys and targets in southern Iraq and Kuwait.

BATTLE OF KHAFJI
On 29 January 1991, Iraqi armor and mechanized infantry attacked United States and Arab joint forces along the Kuwait-Saudi Arabian border. Coalition air power ended the four-day battle. It was the major Iraqi offensive of the war, later determined to be the “defining moment” of Operation Desert Storm.

PERSIAN GULF GROUND WAR
The Gulf War ground offensive began on 24 February 1991. The United States led coalition forces began a flanking maneuver that would prove to be fateful to the Iraqi army. This action overran Iraqi positions, which cut supply lines and avenues of retreat. Iraqi soldiers surrendered in great numbers creating a need for large confinement facilities in the desert. The Allied ground assault caused the massive retreat of Iraqi forces from Kuwait. Military operations ended 28 February 1991.

IMAGES IN THE GULF
The Iraqi military sabotaged oil wells before leaving Kuwait. Flames and heavy black smoke could be seen for miles. Oil spilled over the land and into the Persian Gulf killing fish and wildlife.

GULF WAR HIGHWAY OF DEATH
The lone highway out of Kuwait, jammed with vehicles loaded with looted items, was bombed, killing and wounding thousands of Iraqi troops and civilians. Vehicles of every description were destroyed along the “Highway of Death.”

THE 79TH MILITARY POLICE COMPANY (CS)
The 79th Military Police Company of Rochester, Minnesota, was activated in support of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Desert Calm. The 158-member unit, including twenty-five females, served in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq from 27 November 1990 through 8 May 1991.

THE 407TH CIVIL AFFAIRS COMPANY
The 407th Army Reserve Unit based in Winona, Minnesota, included members from Southeast Minnesota. The unit was activated 27 December 1990 through 3 May 1991 to serve in the Gulf War. Their mission was to arrange for shelter, transportation, food, medicine, water and other needs for Iraqi civilians.

MAYO’S COMMITMENT
Mayo’s commitment to the military began with the Civil War when William W. Mayo was named examining surgeon for the enrollment board for the First Minnesota District. He served from April 1863 until February 1865.

Charles and Will Mayo served on the Medical Board For National Defense. In 1916 the board, working through the Red Cross, organized 50 base hospitals. One was organized through the University of Minnesota with financial support and staff from the Mayo Clinic.

In 1928, the Mayo Clinic Plummer Building was dedicated with the 23-bell carillon dedicated to the American soldier.

In 1934, the American Legion recognized W. J. and C. H. Mayo for "distinguished service to our sick and disabled comrades and to suffering humanity." President Franklin D. Roosevelt presented a plaque to the brothers at Soldiers Field Memorial Park on 8 August 1934.

Mayo research on oxygen requirements in humans, the development of the oxygen mask and an antigravity suit enabled high altitude flying. President Roosevelt recognized Mayo's efforts by presenting them with the highest U.S. aviation award in 1940.

In 1944, two Mayo Medical Units served in the Pacific Theater until the end of World War II.

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