under the sun
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 24, 1991
Festival Parade Marshal
Did Her Part In Desert Storm
BY DOUG RUTTKR
Linda Jones knew there were a lol of
friendly people at Holden Beach
when she and her husband purchased
a vacation home there live years ago. That's
one of the reasons they decided to buy.
But the Fayetteville Red Cross worker
didn't realize just how warm the bcach
community can be until she was shipped
half a world away to serve in the Persian
It wasn't until a powder-blue Hag,
compliments of the Greater Holden Beach
Merchants Association, arrived in the mail
that she knew she hadn't been forgotten by
her friends back at the beach.
Mrs. Jones, one of two people who
received an official Holden Beach (lag
while serving in the war, will be parade
marshal Saturday at the N.C. Festival By
The Sea, which has been dedicated to
Americans who served in Desert Storm.
Chuck Pahl, whose parents live at
Holden Bcach, also received a town flag,
'7 think it was more
scary for you all here
watching in on CNN.
We were sitting out in
the desert kind of
oblivious to everything
that was going on."
? Linda Jones
and it will fly al the foot of Holdcn Beach
Bridge during the festival. County residents
who served in the war will be formally
recognized Saturday at 1 p.m. at the
bandstand under the bridge.
Mrs. Jones said she wasn't allowed to fly
her flag in Saudi Arabia, but pinned it to the
CHUCK PAUL, son of Charles and Pam Pahl of Holden Beach, shows the town
flag he received while serving in Operation Desert Storm. The flag will fly at the
foot of the Holden Beach Bridge during the festival.
inside of the lent where she worked. "It
very quickly changed from light blue to
light brown from the dust," she recalled.
Mrs. Jones, who returned to the United
Suites in April, thinks it's great that Holden
Beach is dedicating the festival to American
troops, especially since the beach
community is the farthest thing from a
And she's not taking her selection as
parade marshal lightly. "It's a huge honor to
represent those troops and civilians who
served in the Gulf. 1 just wish they could all
be here to participate."
Mrs. Jones has served with the Red Cross
for 22 years, the last 10 in Fayettcville
where she is assigned to Fort Bragg and
Pope Air Force Base.
in Saudi Arabia, she served more than
four months as a communications link
between members of the 82nd Airborne
Division and their families back home.
Mrs. Jones was stationed with 200 troops
in a warehouse in Dhahran before moving
into the desert, where she lived in tents near
Rafha, about 15 miles from the Iraqi border.
Mrs. Jones, whose husband is in the Air
Forcc Reserves, thought she would be the
one wailing nervously at home when the
Middle East conflict developed last
Kevin Jones helped load aircraft at the air
forcc base for three weeks, but it was his
wife, Linda, who was chosen to serve
overseas. She left the slates Dec. 1 and
returned April 11.
"He was scared for me. 1 couldn't have
done it without him though." Mrs. Jones
recalled. "I think it was more scary for you
all here watching it on CNN. We were
sitting out in the desert kind of oblivious to
everything that was going on."
Mrs. Jones said the only time she wore a
gas mask was during drills, and she never
saw or heard any gunfire. "My biggest fear,
and I think the fear of most people, was a
chemical attack," she said.
As it turned out, one of her worst
experiences of the war was getting lost in
the desert for three hours one night when
she and several other Americans were
looking lor a medical tent.
Because of frequent sand storms. Mrs.
Jones said everything had to be stored in
plastic bags. The sand in Saudi Arabia is
quite different than the stuff at Holden
"It's like a fine red powder," she said. "It
looks and feels like dirt compared to the
sand we're used to."
Mrs. Jones didn't experience the ex
tremely hot summer weather in Saudi
Arabia, but remembers several times when
the temperature dipped below freezing and
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STAFF PHOTO BY DOUG RUm?
LINDA JONES relaxes with a neighborhood cat during a recent stay at her
H olden Head : home. The Red Cross worker spent more than four months in
Saudi Arabia and will be parade marshal for the N.C. Festival By The Sea.
she could see her breath inside the lenis.
At lirst, she said there was "no running
water, no showers and no hot food." Bottled
water arrived later, along with entrees that
could be healed in pots of boiling water
placed on kerosene healers.
Even without the comforts of home, Mrs.
Jones said the morale of the American
troops was generally gcxxl throughout the
If nothing else, she said the experience
taught her that "war buddies" are for real.
"Everyone became very close. You had to
have that support because that was what got
you through things."
The fighting men and women believed in
the cause, she said, and received
"overwhelming" support from their families
and the American public.
"I've never seen so much mail and
comfort items. It never stopped from the
beginning to the end." Mrs. Jones said
soldiers made friends with people they had
never met before through the mail.
If she's needed, Mrs. Jones would serve
her country in another war. "1 think it
makes you feel more self-sufficient," she
said. "And it makes all the little
inconveniences and frustrations of daily life
seem so much smaller."
CaW lot Quotes on
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