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Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran donates to VFW Memorial Museum expansion

MRE - Meal Ready to Eat

May 5, 2010 – Katy, Texas – The Katy Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Museum was recently the recipient of some of the prized possessions of  one of the Post’s newest members.  Clare Wilklow, now a resident of the Katy area, served on active duty with the US Army from 2001 to 2004.  It was while on deployment that Clare came into the possession of a number of war related items.   While stationed in Wiesbaden Germany with the Army’s 141st Signal Battalion, Bravo Company her unit was deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.  Her military occupation specialty (MOS) was 54 Bravo which is a nuclear, biological and chemical specialist. With this MOS, she was in the midst of the search to find chemical weapons which could have ultimately been used by Saddam Hussein’s forces against the American troops and their allies – the coalition forces. In this capacity, she obtained many valuable artifacts and her gift of them to the museum will help create a realistic setting for this wartime era.   Accepting these scarce and treasured items on behalf of the Post was Jr. Vice Commander, Dave Brasell.

Some of the these donated items include:  Iraqi chemical boots from Saddam’s Republican Guard, Iraqi chemical gas mask (Russian style, probably supplied to the Iraqi Army after the Iraqi – Iranian War), Iraqi chemical decontamination kit with Arabic instructions, two log books from one of Saddam’s many Biological Laboratories in Bagdad which are written in English as well as Arabic, and a mix of crystals and cut glass from a chandelier in one of Saddam’s palaces. 

Clare has also donated an international transistor radio she used in Iraq, a US 256 decontamination kit, her US standard issue military eye glasses and her personal memoir with diary entries.  One day Clare hopes to publish a book of her wartime experiences using her diary entries.  Other artifacts included her dessert combat uniform, a battle dress uniform and meals ready to eat (MRE’s) which would be served by US soldiers to enemy prisoners of war (POW’s).  These MRE’s were personally delivered by her unit to the Iraqi POW’s.  Commander Lumpkin stated that, “Clare Wilklow’s unique and wide variety of acquisitions and donations will provide a great representation of Operation Iraqi Freedom and her artifacts will definitely be an asset to the VFW Memorial Museum, which is currently being expanded.  These items will be on display when the remodeled museum reopens in the fall of this year.”  During her presentation to the museum, Clare took time to share some of her wartime experiences with  Post members, and humorously recalls that it was a great day when the unit received port-a-potties in August of 2002, during the early days of her deployment.

During the expansion of the Veteran’s Memorial Museum the curator is attempting to complete collections of some war-era uniforms and artifacts.  An item of interest, the museum  is hoping to obtain is an actual pair of brown dress shoes worn by a member of the US Army during WW II.  Because of the color and design of the uniform the US Army wore at that time, it was referred to as the “Brown Shoe Army”.  The museum would greatly appreciate it if anyone could donate this addition to their collection. 

Unique items from ALL of our nation’s conflicts will be accepted for proper display in the new expanded museum.  Items like the replica of George Washington’s pistol, recently donated by the local chapter of the Son’s of the American Revolution, represents memorabilia from wars of our nation’s past. 

If anyone is interested in donating military documents, artifacts, mementos or uniforms to the museum expansion project or if you have questions pertaining to how the VFW serves veterans and their families please contact Colonel (Ret) Peyton Lumpkin, Commander or Betty Edmundson, VFW Post 9182 at 281-391-8387.  Post meetings are held at the VFW Hall on George Bush Dr. in Katy on the first Monday of each month at 7:30 p.m.  Please mention you found this on www.KatyMagazine.com.

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