Although users can find plenty of information about the Smithsonian and its staff during World War I and World War II on the Archives website, we have covered fewer recent military conflicts.
In 1990–91, a half-million Americans were deployed in the Gulf War, a conflict between Iraq and a coalition of international allies, including the United States, over Iraq’s invasion and annexation of neighboring Kuwait.
In the spring 1991 issue of The Prophet, the Smithsonian African American Association’s newsletter, the organization saluted the 21 deployed employees who would be returning home to the Institution after the war. Authors Jo Ann Webb, with the Office of Public Affairs, and Ricardo Williams, a security manager, wrote: “Although the fighting is officially over, the war has left its scars. No one remains unchanged by war.” The writers then considered whether or not the Smithsonian was prepared to welcome home their colleagues who served overseas.
For those returning from active duty, the Institution encouraged employees to take advantage of the Smithsonian’s Employee Assistance Program, which offered counseling. Additionally, for those who were on Leave Without Pay status, the Smithsonian absorbed health insurance costs and continued to cover staff enrolled in retirement systems. The Smithsonian African American Association also joined other Smithsonian organizations to form a support group in February 1991 for those with family members fighting oversees.
Those Smithsonian veterans who served in the Gulf War include: Catherine Tecoski, George Grey, Johnnie Burnett, Darryl Williams, Melvin Jones, William Wells, Ronnie Dickens, Michael Stuart, Karl Jefferson, Robert Lane, Henry MewBorn, Lorraine Ramsdell, Joseph Johnson, Sheila Smith, Larry Hawkins, Page Walter, Debra Talbott, Bobbie Harvey, Eurique Caboga, Carlton Smith, and Ann Haas.
- Accession 99-016: Smithsonian African American Association Records, 1989-1996, Smithsonian Institution Archives
- Smithsonian collections related to the Gulf War, Smithsonian Collections Search