Letter from Jeanann Madden to Mom, November 05, 1990

Title

Letter from Jeanann Madden to Mom, November 05, 1990

Subject

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

Description

Jeann Madden's letter to her mother, Gloria. About her arrival in Saudi Arabia, the way people drive, the women in burkas, and how it hot it is. She mentions that she is writing from a temporary location with no laundry facilities and then they will be moved on.

Date

11/5/1990

Contributor

Madden, Jeanann; Madden, Gloria

Rights

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

Format

6 pgs.

Language

en

Type

Letters
Manuscripts

Identifier

MSS397c_letter_19901105

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

Mom, please SAVE these letters!
Monday, Nov. 5 1990
1305 (Saudi) 0505 (EST)
-1-
Dear Mom,
As you probably know by now, I am finally in Saudi Arabia. I hope you didn’t mind my writing to Jane first, but I started a letter to her on the plane because she had been really upset when I talked to her the night before we left. I told her to let you read the letter since it was 11 pages, and it told alot about this place. I’ll pick up from where I left off in Jane’s letter.
On Saturday, we spent most of the day lying around, and drinking water. Saturday evening, after chow, they got the drivers together to go to the port to get our vehicles from the ship. I was surprised that we were only about 30 minutes from the port. On the way there, we passed through the city of DAMMAM. That was interesting. All the signs, well most, were in both Arabic and English. Mercedes, Volvo, Jaguar, Chevrolet, Panasonic, Sears… just a few of
-2-
the things we saw.

The Saudis are crazy people when it comes to driving - they prefer big American cars - especially Buicks and Chevy Caprices! Chevy Suburbans and Blazers seem to be really popular too, as are Cadillacs. They cut in front of each other at 50 MPH, cut each other off - I was surprised we didn’t see any accidents. It was around 1800 here, dark out already, and we didn’t see any women at first. Then we saw some out, wearing a complete black “abaya”, the dress that covers from head to toes, and including a veil for the entire face, so you never see any part of the woman. Some of the men wore the traditional robes and headdress, but alot were dressed in Western-style clothes. It was an interesting experience.
We got the vehicles at the port, then drove back through all that mess - fortunately, there were no accidents - we just let the Saudi
-3-
drivers cut in and out, wherever they wanted!

I took a shower the next morning, Sunday, because the women’s shower time was over when we got back on Saturday night. We had the off on Sunday, and I was a bit disappointed that they didn’t have any Catholic church scheduled. You’d figure with 6,000 troops here in CEMENT CITY, they would be able to find a Chaplain/priest. They had no religious services at all scheduled. So I did my laundry instead - what an experience! You go to the wash area where they have 50 gallon drums cut in half, you fill it with water and soap, hand-scrub your clothes, dump out the soapy water, then hand-rinse the clothes (2 times to really get rid of the soap)! Then you bring it back to your tent and hang it out to dry on the tent lines. The only good thing is that it doesn’t take too long to dry in this heat!
I spent most of the day lying
-4-
around in the tent, reading and drinking water. I took another shower last night, since I figure I should grab one whenever I can.
We got up this morning, had a formation, then did some classes with our platoon inside our tents. At noon, we finished training and are off until we have a formation at 1600. So I am sitting on my cot, drinking water, trying to keep cool in shorts and a T-shirt, and writing to you.

This place isn’t as bad as it could be Mom. And we are only here temporarily. From what we hear, we will be moving to a place with trailers, a gym, and pretty nice facilities. That would be great, but I take everything the Army tells me with a grain of salt. We are only “supposed” to be here (in Cement City) 14 days. We’ll see.

The food is pretty rotten. “T-Rations” for breakfast and dinner, and an MRE for lunch. T-Rats are
-5-
prepackaged entrees for 24 people in a foil tray - They are heated in boiling water, then opened and served. Some are better than others, but it’s just not real food.

They say mail is taking 10 - 15 days to get to the US from here, and about the same coming back. I sure hope they shorten that. I hope you don’t/didn’t worry too much about not hearing from me. I’m doing OK here, so please don’t worry too much. As far as sending me anything, just look at one of those lists and you can see what the troops need here. I will tell you to send toilet paper - a big NEED item here !!! :) Also, if you could send a halogen bulb flashlight and batteries? It gets dark here at 1700 (5PM), and my batteries are fading fast and my army flashlight just isn’t bright enough to read by. OK?

Well Mom, that’s about all from here. I’ll put a little sand in
-6-
the letter for you - I forgot to do that with Jane’s letter. I’m OK, and I’m thinking of you - I don’t know how much I’ll get to write once we get bust, but please be sure that you write. You may want to number your letters so I know if one is missing - a common occurrence, I understand. And please tell everyone to write. I want to know what’s happening back at home. Take care Mom - I miss you and I love you!

Jeanann
...in the sand...

Files

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Citation

“Letter from Jeanann Madden to Mom, November 05, 1990,” TWU Digital Exhibits, accessed June 18, 2024, http://exhibits.twu.edu/ex/items/show/216.