BATON ROUGE, La. (KLFY) – A special ceremony was held for veterans and their families to mark the 30th anniversary of Operation Desert Storm. Louisiana veterans of the first Gulf War were recognized by the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
Hundreds of veterans gathered in the courtyard of the Pentagon Barracks Museum, next to the state capitol, for what felt like a family reunion.
Some hadn’t seen each other since serving together in Operation Desert Storm 30 years ago. They renewed friendships, and shared stories of when they were called to duty.
Veteran Timothy Ducre, of Amite, recalled his feelings about going overseas.
“Scared, not to know what to expect. First time being in a combat zone. Just terrified,” said Ducre.
“Going to a strange place. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You’re nervous and excited at the same time,” said Jamie Chustz, a veteran from Denham Springs.
“It feels great to know that the area is recognizing us who actually served. Not just on my behalf, but I’m speaking for every branch of service that was over there,” said Ducre.
“Yeah, it’s been a long time coming,” said Chustz. “You wake up and it’s 30 years later. Where did the time go?”
“I wish we could do this more often,” said veteran Kevin Wenthe, of Leesville. “Most of us are starting to get older know. We enjoy seeing each other again. I’m proud to come down here for this.”
Operation Desert Storm was a U.S.-led coalition force that went to the Middle East, to liberate the small country of Kuwait, that was invaded by Iraq. The war started on January 17, 1991, and lasted 43 days.
All of the Desert Storm veterans received a 30-year commemorative coin at the ceremony, in appreciation of their service and their sacrifice.
Approximately 1,800 Louisiana National Guard soldiers were deployed. Another 6,600 were called up for Operation Desert Storm.