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"It felt like being in a really, really big oven with people screaming at you." (Audio interview, 2:14)

   Dawn Maria Alvarez Stratton
Collection image
Dawn Stratton in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia [November 1990]
War: Persian Gulf War, 1991
Branch: Marine Corps
Unit: Brigade Service Support Group 7, 7th Marine Expeditionary Brigade
Service Location: Quantico and Little Creek, Virginia; Camp Pendleton, California; Jubail, Saudi Arabia; Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Rank: Captain
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Like many newly minted members of the Marine Corps, Captain Dawn Stratton found herself wondering what she had gotten herself into during her first days in the service. She survived her training by "taking it one day at a time," and using the old trick of picturing everyone in their underwear to defuse her stress. As she relates in her oral history, her deployment during the Persian Gulf War served up challenges ranging from terrible food to difficult colleagues to nightly air raids, but she faced it all with her characteristic sense of humor.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (7 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (22 min.)
»Photo Album  (5 photos)
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»Persian Gulf War: 25 Years Later
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (7 items)
Entry into service; shock at first days in service; how she got by. (01:40) Flying to the Middle East; oppressive heat upon arrival; serving as staff secretary to a commanding general. (03:13) Terrible food; stress of job. (00:55)
Incident involving unexploded Scud missile. (02:13) Opinions of officers and fellow soldiers. (00:19) Day that her overseas service ended; arriving back in the United States. (01:09)
Utter exhaustion upon arriving home from Middle East; forgetting she was carrying a weapon because she was so used to having it on her. (00:30)  

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  October 26, 2011
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