Louisville area Desert Storm veterans to march in national Memor - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville area Desert Storm veterans to march in national Memorial Day parade

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Desert Storm veterans based in the Louisville area will march in Monday's Memorial Day parade in Washington, D.C. The event will pay tribute to the 25th anniversary of Desert Storm.

In August 1990, Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait and headed south toward Saudi Arabia. The United States refused to stand by and watch its ally's resources be swept away.

"I'm all the way over here to the left. That was the morning they announced the cease fire. So, we raised the American Flag and climbed up on our vehicles and celebrated with a Coke," Bob Wolz said.

Wolz and James McKee can remember every detail of the months leading up to that morning that marked the end of Desert Storm.

"It's not uncommon for me to think about it at some point every day," McKee said. 

"It'd be a day like this and there was so much burning oil and everything, you just couldn't see from me to you. Spent a lot of time doing that," Wolz said.

At 18, Wolz enlisted during his senior year of high school. Following several tours, he deployed Christmas Eve.

Wolz worked as a nuclear biological chemical warfare specialist. "We would decontaminate units if Saddam used chemical weapons," Wolz said. "I was entrusted to bring back people's parents and brothers and sisters back their families. It's kind of a heavy weight, but I knew that I needed to make sure that they were able to do what they needed to do, so there was a trust that you don't find anywhere else."

McKee worked as a heavy wheel mechanic. "You live in a 24 hour a day stress," McKee said. "It's probably the best thing I've ever done in my life and the scariest."

The U.S. was the hero of the war. Wolz said that, in 2003, years after Desert Storm, his unit caught then President Saddam Hussein. "We don't hear a lot about Desert Storm, because it was so short and so successful. We hear a lot about Afghanistan and Iraq because they've gone on so long. So, Desert Storm's kind of been forgotten," Wolz said.

However, the people who have lived it haven't forgotten. "It's really kind of an overwhelming feeling. You're in a very exclusive group of people. Not just that there's three percent of Americans that serve and we're tighter than that, because there were so few of us that went," McKee said.

This year, those few will come together 25 years later. "It was a huge victory. To be selected to go up and march on Memorial Day in D.C. is just like strawberry on the cake. I'm humbled by it and it's an honor," Wolz said.

"The men said as long as there are veterans like them, there will be memories. "That was the best feeling in the world. To see my kids again, that was awesome," Wolz said.

They want the rest to remember those who gave their lives for our country and never got the chance to tell their stories.

"It wasn't about oil to me. It wasn't about money. It was about freedom," McKee said.

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