After talks between Iraq and Kuwait failed to resolve grievances over oil prices, Iraq’s president Saddam Hussein decided to invade Kuwait. President George Bush and the United Nations Security Council immediately placed an embargo against Iraq, and thus began Operation Desert Shield. The initial conflict to expel Iraqi troops from Kuwait began with an aerial and naval bombardment on 17 January 1991, continuing for five weeks. This was followed by a ground assault on 24 February, a decisive victory for the Coalition forces who drove the Iraqi military from Kuwait and advanced into Iraqi territory. The Coalition ceased its advance, and declared a cease-fire 100 hours after the ground campaign began.
Desert Storm saw the largest deployment of military women in the history of the United States. More than 40,000 women were deployed, 7% from active duty forces and 17% from the Reserve and National Guard. Although American ground troops declared Kuwait liberated just 100 hours after the ground attack was initiated, fifteen American female soldiers were killed and two were imprisoned by Iraqi forces. Rebecca Burney, Capt. ANG, was there!
Rebecca Burney is a wife, mother, grandmother, retired registered nurse and veteran. Rebecca, (known as Becky to her family, friends and coworkers) had a husband, 3 children and successful profession when she received her commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Alabama National Guard in 1984.
Federally activated in 1990 for Desert Storm, Rebecca proudly served in Saudi Arabia in the combat zone with the 109th Evacuation Hospital as a Medical / Surgical Nurse. During her brief active duty, she received: the Army Commendation Medal with 1 Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster; the National Defense Service Medal; the Southwest Asia Service Medal with 3 bronze service stars; the Army Service Ribbon; the Kuwait Liberation Medal and a Marksman Badge with Auto Rifle Bar.
Since her service, Rebecca has been a volunteer with numerous local, state and national organizations, but the largest portion of what would be her “leisure time” is spent volunteering with The American Legion to champion veterans’ issues. Financially supporting through the American Legion and assisting to build a Habitat Home for a paralyzed veteran and establishing a Legion Riders Program at her local post are two of her most treasured veteran-related achievements.
It is her love of the military, what it stands for and the appreciation of the sacrifices by the men and women of our armed forces that earned her this recognition as The American Legion’s Veteran of the Year for the state of Alabama in 2010 and recognition from the Alabama Hospital association as a Hospital Hero.
Please join us on Saturday, March 28th at 12:00 as we honor our Desert Shield/Desert Storm female Veterans and meet our honoree Becky Burney. Our special guest speaker will be none other than Athens Now owner, publisher, and celebrated author Ali Turner, a self-proclaimed “ex-hippie chick Vietnam War protester” who spent three years in Iraq. Ali is also the author of A Ballad for Baghdad.
Please contact Sandy at 256-771-7578 for more information.
By: Sandra Thompson, Director, Alabama Veteran's Museum