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Bartow, Fla. (Oct. 24, 2022) –  In recognition of Veteran’s Day, the Polk County History Center is proud to dedicate a new exhibit in the Land of Heroes Gallery to honor the sacrifice and service of Polk County women and men during the Persian Gulf War. 

On August 2, 1990, approximately 100,000 Iraqi Army troops crossed the Kuwait border and were met with swift condemnation from the international community. President George H.W. Bush ordered the deployment of U.S. ground, air and naval forces to the Arabian Peninsula initiating Operation Desert Shield. Based in Lake Wales, the 230 members of the 325th Maintenance Company joined the 743rd Maintenance Company out of Fort Lauderdale as the first two Florida National Guard units called up for service since Vietnam. 

Based in Lakeland, the 495th Transportation Company of the United States Army Reserve was activated on November 17, 1990 and arrived in theater shortly before the January 15 deadline for Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait. In the days leading up to the February 24 offensive campaign named Operation Desert Storm, the 150-member unit conducted vehicle maintenance and supply missions. When the battle begun, the 495th traveled with the main support battalion. 

On Tuesday, Nov. 1 at noon, join curatorial staff and Colonel Gary Clark, USAF (Retired) and Chairman of the Polk County Veterans Council, for a panel discussion reviewing the Persian Gulf War and the contributions of the 325th Maintenance Company, Florida National Guard and the 495th Transportation Company, United States Army Reserve. This will be followed by a ceremonial unveiling of the exhibit in the Land of Heroes gallery at the Polk County History Center.  

This is an in-person program and reservations are not required – arrive early to get a great seat and participants may bring a lunch.

The Polk County History Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday at 100 E. Main St. in Bartow. Visit www.polkhistorycenter.org or call (863) 534-4386 for more information on exhibits and programming. All programs and events are free and open to the public.

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