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NEWS | Feb. 26, 2016

More than 200 brave rain and snow for memorial ceremony

By Staff Sgt. DALTON Smith 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

GREENSBURG, Pa. – Twenty-five years have passed since an Iraqi Scud missile destroyed the building of the 14th Quartermaster Detachment, just six days into their deployment in Operation Desert Storm, Saudi Arabia. Former Soldiers of the unit and family members of the fallen showed up to support each other here, Feb. 25, 2016.

“It’s amazing to see the swell of support for these family members of the fallen Soldiers,” said Brig. Gen. Richard C. Staats, commanding general of the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). “People came from hundreds of miles away to be here today for this event and it just warms my heart to see the support for my Soldiers both past and present.”

Thirteen Soldiers were killed and 43 were injured of the 14th QM Detachment, after only six days in the theater of operations in the Persian Gulf. The 14th suffered the greatest number of casualties of any Allied unit during Operation Desert Storm. Only hours after this tragedy the operation ended.

“This unit is back up to strength with Soldiers, even after the terrible tragedy that occurred to it, and is ready to do its mission again, which is providing clean water and other basic life-support needs,” said Staats.

For Stacey Dawson, of Jacksonville, Florida, former Specialist with the 14th QM Detachment during Operation Desert Storm, today is sad because she remembers her friends she lost. She also says today is joyous because she gets to see the same people from the unit who survived and be with them once again.

Dawson suffered a leg and multiple shrapnel injuries after being blown 25 feet outside of a building, following the missile explosion, while talking on the phone with her parents in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She said all she remembers is a big, loud explosion and Soldiers screaming for help. She then spent 10 days in a Saudi hospital and another year in the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

The number of participants for the ceremony outnumbered the seats available inside the tent to protect everyone from the harsh weather of rain, snow and wind. The crowd that overflowed, estimated to be more than 200, had to either stand in the back of the tent or outside to watch the events occurring.

“Today is just about remembering the 14th QM Detachment,” said Maj. Gen. Margaret W. Boor, commanding general of the 99th Regional Support Command. “It’s such an privilege to be in the presence of those who served during the operation and the families and friends of the fallen.”