BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — The Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs hosted the Desert Storm 30th Anniversary Commemoration to honor all the veterans who served. Operation Desert Storm was the first major foreign crisis for the United States after the end of the Cold War beginning on Jan. 17, 1991, as a 42-day U.S.-led air offensive.
“The veterans of Desert Storm overwhelmingly defeated one of the world’s largest militaries in less than a month and a half, that’s quite an accomplishment. The impacts of this war showed our adversaries they could not compete with us in conventional warfare and reshaped the way our adversaries view us today,” said Major General Keith Waddell.
Veteran Arnold Gregoire said he went into the war as a young man and would go back and do it all over again.
“When they call you to do your duty, you do it. Do the best you can ’cause at the end of the day you can say ‘I did my best,'” said Gregoire.
Over 600,000 U.S. troops took part in the war, nearly 300 lost their lives; Gregoire said it’s up to the veterans left behind to keep their memories alive.
“100% gave their life, 50% came back to tell the story, so the heroes are the ones sitting in the graveyard,” said Gregoire.
For many of these veterans, the commemoration was about seeing old faces they haven’t seen in 30 years. Each veteran was honored individually for their service with a commemorative coin.