“Holding A Life In Your Hands”: A Parachute Rigger In The Persian Gulf War

Dana Brown


After growing up in a small town in western Maryland, Dana Brown enlisted in the Army as a parachute rigger to pay for college, but soon came to realize that her service meant much more than that. Her first months in the Army were spent in Basic Training at Ft. McClellan, Alabama, in Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and in Parachute Rigger School at Fort Lee, Virginia. After arriving at her first unit, the 101st Airborne Division, she completed Air Assault school. Not long after Dana finished all her training, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, and she quickly found herself deploying to Saudi Arabia, where she served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. After the war, she left the Army and returned to civilian life for a few years before rejoining the Army Reserves. Following her military service, Dana began pursuing certification to teaching History at the high school level. In this interview, Dana talks about her training, the NCOs who pushed her to excel, and her determination to never quit. She discusses her experiences while deployed to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War, including interactions with her fellow Soldiers and with some of the civilians she came into contact with. Finally, she describes how the combat exclusion limiting women’s opportunities in the military led to her decision to leave the Army, and offers her thoughts on the recent reversal of that policy.


conflicts Persian Gulf War
topics Camaraderie Morale Returning from War Women in Service
interviewer David Siry
date 25 July 2016


name Dana Brown
service Quartermaster
unit 53rd Quartermaster Detachment, 426th Forward Support Battalion, (ABN) 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
specialty Parachute Rigger
service dates 1989 1992