We are going to do something a little different this week. It was this week in 1990 that I was shipped out to the Gulf War. On August 2, 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait. From that moment, there were rumors that we would be going to war. At the time, I was stationed at Oakland Naval Hospital. But, as with a lot of the people stationed there, I was also affiliated with the USNS Mercy. The Mercy is a hospital ship that had only been fully activated during a crises or a humanitarian mission. There were only a handful of full time Navy personnel on the ship, as well as several merchant marines. So, from the time Iraq invaded Kuwait, we were all on pins and needles wondering if we would go to war and be shipped out.
On August 9, I went into work as I normally did. However, anybody who had the day off, also had to come in. We had a meeting, and were told that we were going to war. Not everybody was going to be transferred to the Mercy though. So, they went through the list, and of course, I was selected. I was not in a relationship, and most of my family was across the country. So, I had no problem going. There were other people not selected, but wanted to go. So, they would ask around and see if anybody would switch. There were some takers. But, I wasn’t going to switch with anybody. We were also told that we could tell family members that we were leaving, but we weren’t allowed to say where we were going. We would be moving on to the ship on August 12, and we were leaving on August 14.
When I got back to my apartment that night, I called my parents to tell them the news. My mother answered the phone, and she already knew where I was going. It was all over the news that our ship was being activated. And, to top off this news, my mother, who was home by herself, had just received another phone call a few minutes before I called. My grandmother (my father’s mother) died after a long battle with Alzheimers. My grandparents had lived in Colorado, so I had only seen them a few times in my life. But, we did talk on the phone every Sunday. My world had turned upside down. But,
what else is there to do, but carry on?
When I got to my ship, we worked around 20 hours a day for the two days, loading our ship with supplies. My job was to work in the food storeroom, so I got all the food loaded up.
Since I feel like I’m rambling on, I’m not going to go over everything I did during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. But, we all know what the final outcome was. Our ship headed backin the middle of March 1991. We pulled back into our home port in the middle of April.
So, I wrote all that just to say that this week, all of the Remember That Song and Movie Quote articles will be music and films from 1990 to 1991. The dark days of grunge had not arrived yet, so we still had a late ’80s feel about it.
I hope you enjoy this week’s selections.
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