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Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Gulf War and the Wisconsin National Guard’s service in it. The first article published Jan. 14, 2020 and is available at: http://dma.wi.gov/DMA/news/2021news/21010
Thirty years ago, the first Wisconsin National Guard units deployed to a combat zone in decades waited with anticipation as the coming conflict with Iraq inched closer.
By this date in 1990, nearly 220 Wisconsin Army National Guard members had deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield, while as many as 70 Airmen from the Wisconsin Air National Guard’s 128th Air Refueling Wing had been refueling aircraft at home and overseas on a volunteer, rotational basis since early August.
More than 1,400 Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers and Airmen in nine different units were activated for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in 1990 and 1991 — the first presidential call-up of reserve component troops in more than two decades.