Letter from Jeanann Madden to Jane Dandrea, November 26, 1990

Title

Letter from Jeanann Madden to Jane Dandrea, November 26, 1990

Subject

Operation Desert Shield, 1990-1991; Persian Gulf War, 1991

Description

letter from Jeanann Madden to Jane Dandrea. Jeanann describes Thanksgiving dinner on base. She also discusses her depression, anger, and fear that she may not survive her tour in Saudi Arabia. Describes her posting at the 44th Medical Brigade as being similar to that of a neighborhood patrol.

Date

11/26/1990

Contributor

Madden, Jeanann; Dandrea, Jane

Rights

Materials may not be used without permission. For more information, contact us at (940) 898-3751 or womenshistory@twu.edu.

Format

7 pgs. Page 3 missing

Language

en

Type

Letters
Manuscripts

Identifier

MSS397c_letter_19901126

Is Part Of

MSS 397c, Jeanann Madden Correspondence and photographs, 1990-1991.

Provenance

Madden, Jeanann
Teacher and Army reservist. Served with 82nd Airborne Division, XVIII Airborne Corps of the Army Reserve during the Persian Gulf War.
Gift

Rights Holder

Woman's Collection, Texas Woman's University, P.O. Box 425528, Denton, TX 76204.

Text

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Monday, Nov. 26, 1990
1600 (4 PM) Saudi 8 AM (EST)
Dear Jane,

Hi! Thanks for your letter! I was starting to wonder whether I’d ever hear from you or Mom. I got your letter on Saturday, and I got a letter from Mom last night. So now I am glad that I have heard from both of you!

Things have changed for the better since I wrote the last letter to you. We have moved to a new compound. They are finishing some buildings for us to live in, so we are still living in tents. We now have flush toilets, indoor showers, and washing machines available to us. Almost all the comforts of home, to be sure! And I debated on whether I should tell you about the next two things, because I don’t want you to think I’m living at Club-Med. But I’ll tell you anyways - we
-2-
also have a tennis court and an inground swimming pool here. Yeah, I know - you thought I was living in some God-forsaken desert, and here I am living the “good” life. Not that “good”, when you consider that at any moment we can be called out to fight, and all our amenities here won’t mean squat then.

The reason we have all these perks is because our compound is where the 44th Medical Brigade is located. That means lots of brass (higher ranking officers), and they always get to live well. Our job is to provide perimeter security for this compound, and to provide area security for the smaller units of the Brigade, out in their areas around Dammam. Sort of like your local neighborhood patrol work. If the war were to start, we would then run an EPW (Enemy Prisoner of War) holding area - that’s one step below a PW camp. A dangerous job, but still
-3-
200 miles or so from the front. So I could be in alot worse of a situation, but then it could be alot better (like at home in PA with my family).

When we have time off, they show movies in the day-room at 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. There is a TV/VCR in there. As you can imagine, it’s a pretty popular place. Especially since it’s air-conditioned.

Last week, I was working the 2PM - 8PM shift. Starting tonight, I have the 2AM-8AM shift. I plan on taking a nap after dinner tonight. I work for the next 4 days, then I get one day off. It’s not too bad of a schedule.

So I hope that gives you some idea of what I am doing over here. Yes, it’s boring, but as Brian wrote, “I hope your stay in Saudi Arabia is one of the most dull, boring, and uneventful experiences of your entire life!” Amen to that!
-4-
Thanks for your description of “Halloween at the Dandreas”. I wish I’d been there to see it. Let’s plan on it for next year, OK? We’ll even have a pumpkin carving party - remember those? Pumpkin guts everywhere - haha! (pumpkin drawing)

Thanksgiving here was pretty nice. They worked hard on it. The mess hall was all decorated, and we even had turkey napkins and turkey placemats! They served; turkey, roast beef, ham, sweet potatoes, dressing, gravy, succotash, macaroni and cheese, shrimp cocktail (really!), mixed nuts, eggnog, tossed salad, O’Doul’s Non-Alcoholic Beer (by Anheuser Busch), Pepsi, apple pie, cherry pie, and (my personal favorite) pumpkin pie with whipped topping!! They really outdid themselves. It still wasn’t the same as at home - I really missed Grandma Madden’s mincemeat pie - but it did in the pinch! I hope they can do as nice a job for Christmas. I hope there won’t be too many depressed
-5-
people then. Alot of the people, especially the younger ones, have never been away from home for such a big holiday before. I’m pretty sure they’ll try to keep everyone occupied so they don’t dwell on it too much.

I hope Mark finally passed his CPA Exam. Will it be that long until you find out? I hope that I’m home too, to hear the good news!

You asked how I was doing, and I’m sure you didn’t want just a superficial “Fine”. So I’ll be honest with you. Most of the time I am OK. But I worry constantly about what’s going to happen. I’m scared that I might die over some idiot’s stupid actions. I usually do most of my worrying when I go to mass on Sundays. Strangely, that’s always when I come closest to crying. Maybe because I feel that if I died now, I wouldn’t be going to heaven - and I get a
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little angry, because I don’t think I’ve accomplished all of the things that God has wanted me to do yet. So I try to think that there’s no way I’ll die here because there’s too much I have to do in life yet. And I can’t stand to think of what it would do to you and Mom. So that’s how I rationalize that nothing will happen to me here. I don’t mean to depress you by writing about these things, but no one here discusses the subject, so it feels good to tell you about it, because it weight so heavily on my mind so often.

So I keep marking days off on my calendar, and hope I get to come home in March. It’s hard to think about home when it’s over 100 days away, and even then, they could decide to declare war or a national emergency, and I’d be here for who knows how long. I think when I do get home, I may go out and join one of those peace
-7-
rallys! :) Actually, I’ll probably just want to be around everyone for a while. But, it’s not too good to dwell on these things, since the future is so uncertain. I’d sure hate to miss my 10-year reunion. Mom sent me the list of Alumni over here. The only two I knew were Jeff Miller, who graduated with me - you may have know his younger brother Marc - from Dravosburg - and Vince Easler (he graduated a year before me). They are both CPT’s - officers and I’m a lowly, enlisted Specialist (SPC) - oh well. My own fault really.

Well, I didn’t mean to bring you down with my letter. Thanks for listening/reading. I’m going to go to dinner now, so I’ll be ending here. I have to write to Mom and Grandma Betts yet, and then I’ll be caught up on my letters (until I get more tonight I hope!). Give Trump a hug from me - I can’t wait to play with him again! As you can
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tell, there’s lots of things I can’t wait to do! :)

Big hugs and kisses to both you and Mark - I miss you both. I love you alot!
Your big sister always,
Love,
Jeanann
PS - I can’t really think of anything I need now - really! If I do, I will ask you though :) (Just think - if I had no conscience, I could really be “raking it in”, since everyone who writes me assures me they’ll send me anything I want!! Just my luck to have such high standards of ethics!) Love me!

PPS - I keep telling everyone to save their money and we’ll have a big party when I come home!

Files

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Citation

“Letter from Jeanann Madden to Jane Dandrea, November 26, 1990,” TWU Digital Exhibits, accessed June 18, 2024, http://exhibits.twu.edu/ex/items/show/217.