The First Gulf War is finally getting a memorial on the Mall

Jake Hughes
June 25, 2018 - 11:44 am

(Image courtesy of NDSWMA)

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The National Mall in Washington, DC is home to memorials of wars of the modern era, from World War II to Vietnam. However, some conflicts are notably missing. Now, one oft-forgotten conflict is finally getting its own memorial, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.

After a three year selection process, a site has finally been chosen for the First Gulf War’s Memorial: a one-quarter acre site at the southwest corner of 23rd Street and Constitution Avenue. The U.S. Commission on Fine Arts voted four-to-one, with one abstention, for the site after several members of Congress spoke before the final deliberation. "These men and women who went to Desert Shield, Desert Storm put their lives on the line for this country,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) at the meeting, “and they deserve to be placed next to my brothers and sisters who are on that wall in Vietnam, in World War II and Korea, where I served."

Heino Klinck serves as Vice-president of The National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, and is also a Gulf War vet. “It definitely was a foundational moment in my life. I was in my early 20’s, just out of college, and now I’m leading soldiers. It absolutely made me into the man I am today.”

Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield were the first major foreign crises for the United States after the end of the Cold War. The successful completion of the war was one of the swiftest in history, lasting just around 100 hours of ground combat. However, the war took the lives of 383 service people. It’s these people, not just American service members, but from a coalition of 34 nations that bound together to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein, that the Association wants to be remembered.

The overall design of the monument is significant in a number of ways.

(Image courtesy of NDSWMA)

The color is to reflect the desert environment. The statues will be wearing full gas mask and chemical protective gear. The shape is designed to tribute the infamous “Left Hook” formation the military used to flank the Iraqi Army. Names of the fallen will be inscribed on it, and might have gold stars to represent them

The memorial will cost around $25 million to build, and is set to be completed in 2021. For more information about the memorial or the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association, visit their website.

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