Lawrence Welch

Mr. Welch served in Operation Desert Storm.

He served in the Minnesota Army National Guard and was assigned to the 109th Light Equipment Maintenance Company in Saudi Arabia. Mr. Welch, whose unit was stationed in King Khalid military city, suffered a fatal heart attack on February 15, 1991.

Mr. Welch was from Chisholm, Minnesota, and had been a resident there since 1973.

Source: “Three Northland Lives Lost During War,” Duluth News Tribune, July 4, 1991 (see below)

Although allied forces emerged victorious from Operation Desert Storm, the war was not without cost—and part of that cost was borne by three Northland families.

Two men from Northeastern Minnesota and one from Northwestern Wisconsin died during the Persian Gulf War. Death came in the random ways of war; one man dying of a heart attack, another in a missile attack on his barracks and the third while clearing mines in combat.

Their deaths plunged their families into mourning. In their small communities, news that a friend, a neighbor or a classmate had died brought home a somber message on the price of war.

Those who died:

Sgt. Lawrence Welch of Chisholm was a long-time member of the Minnesota Army National Guard, serving with the 109th Light Equipment Maintenance Company in Saudi Arabia. On February 15, while the unit was stationed in King Khalid military city, the 41-year-old Welch suffered a fatal heart attack. He was the fourth Minnesotan to die in the Persian Gulf war.

About 200 people filled the sanctuary of Grace Lutheran Church in Chisholm to bid farewell to Welch, who had lived in the town since 1973.

“The events that happened February 15 are beyond human understanding,” the minister delivering the eulogy told mourners, “We may ask why … why… why it happened, but we take comfort in knowing that is the way Larry wanted it: He was proud of the fact he could serve this great country of ours as long as he did.”

Spec 4 Glen Jones of Grand Rapids was in a barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, on February 25 when an Iraqi Scud missile slammed into the building, killing Jones and 27 other soldiers.

The 21-year-old Jones, a Grand Rapids resident since 1971 and a 1987 graduate of Grand Rapids High School, had been in the Army for three years before returning to civilian life in July 1990. He was working and saving money so he could attend vocational school when he was recalled to active duty for Operation Desert Storm.

The day after being notified of Jones’ death, his family spoke with pride of the fallen soldier.

“I figure we paid the price, but what we got in return is much better,” said his father, David Jones. “Look at the people that were saved in the world. We didn’t pay half the price that they would have had to pay, and our price is supreme.”

Sgt. Brian Scott of Park Falls, Wisconsin, joined the Army Reserve when he was 17 and joined the regular Army soon after graduating from high school in 1986. The 22-year-old combat engineer, who worked clearing explosives, died February 26 in one of the last battles of Operation Desert Storm.

Pat and Howard Scott were told of their son’s death February 27. A few hours later, President Bush announced a cease-fire in the war with Iraq.

While much of the country celebrated the end of the fighting, the 3,100 residents of Park Falls mourned Scott’s death. Among the mourners was Scott’s wife, Daleen, who had given birth to their son five days earlier. Scott was killed before he learned of his son’s birth.

“Brian didn’t enter the Army to become a hero," family friend John Vrablec said a few weeks later during Scott’s funeral. "He didn’t fear going to Saudi Arabia. In fact, his parting words to his parents were that he was doing what he wanted to do and what he had trained to do.”

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