National memorial in works for Gulf War

More than 25 years after serving in the Persian Gulf, Greg Carey knows there is less interest in the stories of driving Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait.

“It’s just something that’s not in the forefront of people’s consciousness, I guess,” said Carey, who built roads for the Army during the war.

Carey got his first look Tuesday at plans for a national Operation Desert Storm memorial, which aims to educate younger generations about the war and honor more than 380 Americans killed in combat.

The war lasted from August 1990 to February 1991, led by a coalition of 35 nations against Iraq. By one count, three Indiana service members were killed in combat, and eight others died of non-hostile causes.

As the 20th anniversary of the combat phase approached, Marine infantry veteran Scott Stump said his then-preteen children didn’t seem fully aware of what happened, beyond their father’s experiences in the war.

Some veterans say the war is often merely remembered for the continuous television coverage or misperceived as the first chapter of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“I came to realize if something didn’t happen and happen very quickly, this story — as unique as it is — would be forgotten,” said Stump, who lives in North Carolina.

He recruited other Gulf war veterans and their families to form the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, raising funds for the site. 

Members also reached out to Congress for legislation authorizing the memorial, which President Donald Trump signed in March.

The $25 million, privately-funded project has key ties to the Hoosier state.

One association board member lives in Kokomo and U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) co-sponsored the legislation. Indianapolis-based  firm CSO Architects designed the proposed memorial.

Plans call for depicting a timeline of events, an engraving of the names of the fallen and statues representing a service man and woman.

Organizers want to build the memorial on land near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, a nod to the Vietnam veterans who commanded Desert Storm. Another site is under consideration across the Potomac River.

The foundation continues seeking corporate donations. Stump hopes the memorial will be dedicated in 2020.

To donate to the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, go to ndswm.org/.