Letter from Jeanann Madden to Jane Dandrea, November 01, 1990

Title

Letter from Jeanann Madden to Jane Dandrea, November 01, 1990

Subject

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

Description

letter from Jeanann Maden to Jane Dandrea about her trip from her American posting, through Germany, and into Saudi Arabia. She describes the weather, the living conditions, and getting adjusted to desert life. Pages 3 and 7 are missing from the file.

Date

11/1/1990

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

9 pgs. Page 7 missing

Language

en

Type

Letters
Manuscripts

Identifier

MSS397c_letter_19901101

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

Jane - please save this letter, and as a matter of fact, all/any letter I send you while I’m over there, OK?
-1- Thursday, Nov 1, 1990
1:08 pm
Dear Jane,

Well, we are on our way. Right now, I am on a Northwest Airlines 747, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean. Let me back up and take you to how we got here.

On Wednesday morning, we got up at 0530 (I took a shower before breakfast) and went to breakfast. After breakfast, we carried our duffel bags and rucksacks (backpacks, military style) out and lined them up. Then we cleaned up our barracks and latrines, while we waited for the trucks to come and pick up all the gear. The trucks arrived around 10 AM (Ryder vans). We loaded 5 vans full of our gear. Then we went to lunch. After lunch, everyone finished cleaning up our area. I was at the orthopedic clinic at the hospital, having custom arch supports made for my boots. It usually takes 3-5 days to make a pair, but when I told them I was leaving for Saudi the next day, they rushed the process and did mine first!
-2-
Change of colors (I have one of those 4-color pens). I got back to the company around 1600 and signed for my two weapons (M-16; that’s the rifle, and .45; that’s the pistol). We went to dinner at 1630, and we got back at 1730. Four buses from Hunter Army Airfield (HAAF), arrived and as they called out our names, we lined up and loaded onto the buses as they check our dog tags and ID cards. Then we rode for an hour to Savannah, which is where HAAF is located.

We got to HAAF around 1930. We got off the buses outside of a large hangar. We filed out into the hangar and there, as far as you could see, was row after row of cots (army type). We all grabbed a cot and set our gear down on it. Then we went to another line where we got a blanket.
1530 (3:30pm)
Sorry about the break. They served lunch and showed the inflight movie, Back to the Future Part III. The movie was good (I had seen it
-3-
before, but it’s a good movie to see again. Strangely enough it is now nightime outside the plane - and it’s only 3:30 in the afternoon! We are flying east though, and that’s why it’s already dark. Now let me pick up the story where I left off.

Oh - after we got our blankets, we got in another line and got a sub, chips, piece of fruit and a soda. There were no shower facilities in the hangar, so I washed up, and went to bed around 2200. However, I didn’t sleep well because it was so damn cold! It got down to 35° last night, and the hangar was almost that cold - and it was very drafty. And everytime the doors were opened, a very loud buzzer would sound for 10 seconds or so. I woke up around 0100 hours, freezing, when I remembered I had bought a survival blanket just before we left. (They are the silver-sheet foil-like things they wrap around marathoners at the end of a race - they reflect the body heat.) I got it out and used it - it helped some, but not much -
-4-
I was still pretty cold. At 0430; we got up, packed our junk, and had a formation outside the hangar at 0530. We then packed onto the bus again, and they took us out to the airfield where the plane was waiting. We filed off the plane and went by a station the Red Cross had set up. We got a coffee or soda from them, a coffee cake, and they had gum + candy, and books for us to choose from too. Then, we had a briefing about our flight(s).

We were told we would leave HAAF at 0730 for LaGuardia in NY. Actually, we left at 0810, and we flew into Kennedy instead. We were allowed to get off the plane there for about 45 minutes. I took my towel with me and I washed my hair in the sink at Kennedy at 1100 this A.M.!! We arrived at NY around 1015, and we left there at 1225. We have been in the air for 3 ½ hours now, and we have 3 more hours to go before we land in Frankfurt, Germany. That should take us to 1900, or 0100, German
-5-
time. We are supposed to be on the ground for 3 hours in Germany. We are supposed to get the chance to leave the plane there. I hope so! We leave Germany at 2200 hours (E.S.T. - Eastern Standard Time - your time) or 0400 hours, German time. We then have a 7 ½ hour flight to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. That should put us in Saudi at 0530 E.S.T., or 1330, Saudi time. Saudi Arabia is 8 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time. Confusing, isn’t it? Well, I’m going to try to grab some sleep now. I will continue this letter throughout my trip. Talk (write) more later Jane. I love you!!

Saturday, Nov. 3, 1990
1:53 AM (E.S.T.) 9:53 AM (Saudi)
Dear Jane,

Well, I have a large gap to fill in haven’t I? I am writing this from a cot, in a tent, in a cement plant, in the Saudi desert. (I’ll explain more later). But first to pick up from where I left off. They showed us another movie, Bird on a Wire, before we
-6-
got into Rein Mein (sp?) Airforce base in Germany. I’m pretty sure that’s where Jennifer works at; it’s outside of Frankfurt. We didn’t see anything flying in, because it was cloudy. We got on the ground and it was cold (45°) and wet. It reminded me of Pennsylvania actually - same smells, same temperatures. We went into another tent, and the Red Cross was there with care packages (toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, tampons (really!), etc.), food, and more books. I have to remember to contribute to the Red Cross on a regular basis when I come home. There were TV’s with music videos playing. They had a place where you could sign out a couple of towels and take a shower, so I took my care package and took a quick shower in Germany! Then we went back through the rain and got onto the plane again.

So in all, I was on German soil (not counting the plane) for 1 ½ hours! And all I saw was the airbase and the rain! I didn’t even hear anyone speak German while I was there.
-7-
Someday I’ll get back and stay a little longer - actually see the country.

The flight going to Saudi from Frankfort took 6 ½ hours. The new crew on the plane was almost all guy flight attendants. The women who were on board were older. They showed 3 movies, but I didn’t watch any of them. I slept for most of that part of the flight. I woke up when they served breakfast, but I felt as though I was “sleepeating”! I went back to use the bathroom near the end of the flight, and I looked out the window - it reminded me of the first time I flew into Arizona - brown, brown, brown!

We landed at 0530 EST, 1330 local. We pulled up, and as we taxied in, we saw row after row of fighter planes with bombs and missiles lined up next to them. We saw lots of helicopters and large transport planes too. We got off the plane wearing our helmets, flak jackets,
-8-
Protective masks, LBE, and carrying our weapons. We lined up on the runway, and although it was 90°+ out, it wasn’t too bad. We then marched over to an area where there were tents. We were given a 1.5 litre bottle of water, then sent into a tent where we took off our flak jackets and helmets, put on our soft hats, and drank the water. After about an hour, I started feeling sick - light-headed, stomach hurting; I went to the latrine twice and had diarreha (sp?). Then I had to keep going to get rid of all that extra water! Some buses pulled up with civilian drivers - Saudi men. The buses had signs - “Men’s section” (the front) and “women’s section” (the back). I sat in the front - ha ha! (That doesn’t apply to us). Then we rode for about an hour to a cement plant. Half of it has been taken over by the Army. The are about 6,000 people living in a huge city of tents here. They call it CEMENT CITY. We got here and were assigned out tent. Our gear arrived from the plane, and
-9-
After I got my rucksack and duffel bag, I got a cot and got set up in a tent with 15 other girls. It’s a little tight, but it’s not too bad.

We found out where the showers were - what a set-up! Like this:

[Detailed drawing of the Cement City shower setup]

There are about 4 rows like that. And there is a large area before those where you undress at. You only get 3 minutes in the shower, so guess I’ll just have hairy legs and underarms for awhile. The latrines are interesting too:

[Detailed drawing of the Cement City latrine setup]
-10-
They call them “Howdy Neighbor” latrines, because you can see everyone walking by as you are using it!
It actually got a little chilly here last night. I used my survival blanket again. We got up at 0630, went to breakfast (T rations) and had a formation at 0830. We are supposed to be here for 2 weeks, then move on to our permanent area. It’s pretty hot right now (11:26 AM local) - we are sitting in our tents getting climatized. I’ll be going to get a drink of water after this - that’s a 1.5 liter drink!

They told us that it is taking 10-15 days for these letters to get to the US, and a 10-15 day turn around. I hope it goes faster than that, and I hope you didn’t worry too much about not hearing from me. They said that if you send a package priority mail (1st class) from the US it should only take a week. So you can do that when you write back,
-11-
and send me a BIG package of toilet paper - there isn’t any here! Also, if you could send about 4 “D” size Duracell batteries, I would appreciate it.

I want you to share this letter with mom, OK? I’ll write to her, but I won’t go into all the little details like I did here. Let everyone know I’m OK here - hot and dirty, but OK. I miss you alot - can’t wait to get back to PA. Please write back and get that package in the mail as soon as possible OK? I love you Jane - I’ll be back before you know it.

Love,
Jeanann...from the sand!

P.S.-Tell everyone to write at this address:

SPC Jeanann Madden
210-58-0365
351st MP CO (CS)
Operation Desert Shield
APO, NY 09657-6130 <- These last four are VERY important - make sure you use them!

Files

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MSS397c_letter_19901101_page_09.jpg
MSS397c_letter_19901101_page_10.jpg
MSS397c_letter_19901101_page_11.jpg

Citation

“Letter from Jeanann Madden to Jane Dandrea, November 01, 1990,” TWU Digital Exhibits, accessed June 18, 2024, http://exhibits.twu.edu/ex/items/show/214.