The Library of Congress Veterans History Project Home 
Experiencing War: Stories from the Veterans History Project
Home » Mary Cox

“We were heroes in their eyes.” (Audio interview, 03:52)

   Mary Cox
Placeholder Image
War: Persian Gulf War, 1991
Branch: Army
Unit: 766th Transportation Headquarters
Service Location: Germany; Saudi Arabia
Rank: Specialist
View Full Description

A "newbie" in her Indiana National Guard unit, Mary Cox was sent to the Persian Gulf to serve with the 766th Transportation Headquarters, a transportation dispatch unit, in the middle of the Saudi Arabian desert. Life just outside the combat zone brought heat, boredom, and—as one of six women in a unit of 42 men—a near total lack of privacy. To cope, she sent a constant stream of letters (sometimes as many as 20 a day) to her friends and family back home. As well, she relied on her sense of humor and the close relationships she developed with the other soldiers in her unit.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (28 min.)
»Second audio interview (16 min.)
»Photo Album  (2 photos)
More like this
»Women of Four Wars
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Assignment to transportation unit stationed in the desert; memorable moments; shock of seeing treatment of women in Saudi Arabia; watching the bombing of Baghdad. (02:14) Constantly writing letters to her family and friends back home; waiting in long lines to make a phone call; dealing with big time difference between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. (01:30) Tightness of unit; serving in a unit with six women and forty-two men; sleeping in a tent with nine men; total lack of privacy; learning to deal with such close quarters; the unique bond that developed between the soldiers in her unit. (02:50)
Using humor to diffuse the tension and stress of serving in a combat area. (01:22) Describing the impact that serving in Desert Storm had on her life; her status as a Desert Storm veteran is a large part of her identity; counting down days until the end of her service. (02:40) Hardest part about service was being away from her family; that it was harder for her family than it was for her, because of the lack of information about her whereabouts. (00:58)

Home » Mary Cox
  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
  Legal | External Link Disclaimer Need Help?   
Contact Us