Wendy Walker

"Wendy Walker of Superior, Wisconsin saw a lot of death and destruction while on duty in Operation Desert Storm, but she also had time for a little fun.

If Walker’s service in the gulf war sounds like a mixed blessing, that’s exactly what it was, she says.

The 19-year-old Walker is a member of the Duluth-based 477th Medical Company, which saw heavy action transporting wounded soldiers – both allied and Iraqi – in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Members of the group rotated into areas where casualties, especially Iraqi, were high. The company helped care for wounded soldiers as they were carried between aid stations and hospitals as well as helping move them on helicopters, buses and ambulances.

Although she never came under fire, Walker got her taste of battle by seeing the results of its destruction.

“After a while, you could get used to the death. It was the pain that the people we were patching up were suffering that bothered me,” she said. There was a lot of burns, everything was burning over there, and everybody had burns…. I’m tired of dealing with pain.”

After the war ended and the flood of wounded Iraqis subsided, Walker’s work was all but over. But the Army kept the 477th in the desert for a couple more months. It was then when Walker had a chance for some fun when she wasn’t on duty.

“I met a couple of captains who were really nice. I learned how to fly those little helicopters, and I even drove a tank,” she said.

Despite her extensive training and experience as an emergency medical technician, Walker has no dreams of medical service in civilian life. She’s still in the Army Reserve, but she’ll be attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison this fall to concentrate on art school.

As if six months of overseas action wasn’t enough, Walker is soon off to Scotland and England, where she plans on “bumming around on a bike” for several weeks.

“After I got home I realized I couldn’t stay around for long, it was starting to get to me,” she said. “When people ask what it was like over there, they really don’t want to know. And there’s no one-sentence answer to explain it. So I need to get away while I still have the chance.”

Source: Duluth News Tribune July 4, 1991

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