Those lost in 1991 Scud attack recalled
The 316th ESC Rifle Team took part in the 21-gun salute at a memorial to remember those killed in a 1991 SCUD missile attack.
Retired Sgt. Jennifer Synuria, from New Stanton, holds a flag as she hugs Beverly Clark, the mother of fellow soldier Spc. Beverly S. Clark, who was killed when an Iraqi Scud missile destroyed the barracks of the 14th Quartermaster Detachment during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. Sgt. Synuria was injured in the attack. The two were at a ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the attack at the Army Reserve Center in Greensburg.
Attendees pause to remember the 13 soldiers from the 14th Quartermaster Detachment killed in the 1991 SCUD missile attack in Iraq.
Share with others:
Frank Mayes, of Rochester Mills, understood why the eldest of his three daughters, Christine, wanted to join the military.
A former Army soldier himself, Mr. Mayes remembers Christine's excitement to enlist directly from high school -- that same thrill she felt during her three-year tour of Germany, and again just a few months later, when as a student at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, her Army Reserve unit was called to serve in Operation Desert Storm, the first Gulf War.
"When you're in the Army, you go when they call you," Mr. Mayes said. "And she was a soldier. She was just ready to go."
At 22, she was one of 69 soldiers of the Greensburg-based 14th Quartermaster Detachment, an Army Reserve water purification team, called for deployment in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in 1991.
Six days after her unit arrived, as she lay napping at 8:40 p.m. local time, Spc. Mayes was one of 13 members killed when an Iraqi Scud missile struck the barracks on Feb. 25, 1991, killing a total of 29 soldiers and wounding 99.
Twenty years later, the Indiana County family -- Mr. Mayes, his wife, Darlene, and their two surviving daughters -- were among the more than 200 people gathered Friday in a tent outside the Army Reserve Center in Greensburg for a memorial service and wreath-laying ceremony to mark the solemn anniversary.
Family, military officials and community members braved the blustery weather to place flowers, photos and stuffed animals on a monument to those killed or wounded in the attack, sharing stories and offering words of support.
"It's times like this that bring forth vivid memories as if this happened moments ago," said U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, who spoke at the ceremony.
For families, the memory of lost loved ones is a daily reminder of their sacrifice.
Paula Boliver Wukovich, of Monongahela, was a mother of two young children when her husband, vehicle mechanic Spc. John A. Boliver Jr., was killed in the Scud attack.
The family had celebrated daughter Melissa's first birthday while visiting John at Fort Lee, Va., for deployment training the week before he left. She's now 21, and Ms. Wukovich says son Matt, now 22, closely resembles John, except he's got red hair.
"These were people. These weren't just names and a toll of a bell," she said after the memorial ceremony. "They had lives and families and people who loved them, and we don't want to forget that."
The youngest of eight siblings in his Irwin family, Kevin Keough, now of Wake Forest, N.C., was 10 years old when his brother, Spc. Frank S. Keough, deployed with the 14th Quartermaster at age 23.
The brothers' birthdays were 13 years and one day apart, and as Mr. Keough gathered with his mother and other siblings at the memorial, he thought of his own children -- a young son, plus twin girls due in late April.
"It's a shame because they'll never know him, and that part I hate," Mr. Keough said.
"The circumstances, the things that he did for our country, I love and respect. It just, it hurts because I'll never get him back, you know?"
Also at the memorial was Cpl. James Newman, of the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force. His infantry regiment was on a routine perimeter patrol in Dhahran and happened to be driving toward the barracks when the Scud missile hit.
His four-man team arrived within minutes and began the difficult process of rescuing bodies, administering first aid and trying to clear remaining ammunition stores.
"You're reflecting, [and] all of a sudden, all the pictures come back -- the smells, the sounds -- and it's like it happened yesterday," he said. "You'll never forget that."
For the Mayes family, time has helped heal some scars from their loss, but Christine remains a permanent thought.
"It gets easier, but not totally. You always think of them," Mr. Mayes said.
"You see somebody that reminds you of them, or something, it's hard."
First Published February 26, 2011 12:00 am