JOHNSTON, Iowa – The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony dedicating its new Operation Desert Storm/Global War on Terror exhibit on Saturday, August 14 at 1 p.m. Iowa native Gen. (retired) Charles “Chuck” Horner will be the featured speaker. The public and media are invited to attend this event.
The exhibit begins with Desert Shield/Desert Storm and transitions to the Global War on Terror operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. With more than 2,000 square feet of exhibit space, the new Desert Storm/Global War on Terror exhibit features numerous pieces of equipment and artifacts used for training and combat during the conflicts, including an AH-1S Cobra attack helicopter, an M113A2 Armored Personnel Carrier, an M1025 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (“Humvee”), and a U.S. Marine Corps M1030B1 motorcycle.
Display cases contain U.S. uniforms, weapons, and equipment used by Iowa veterans of both conflicts. Examples of Iraqi-issued equipment and weapons obtained by Iowa military personnel are also on exhibit. Graphic panels provide information and imagery summarizing operations from both conflicts and detail the roles of Iowa Active Duty and Reserve Component Soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and Sailors.
The exhibit contains numerous artifacts from Iowans, including a uniform worn by Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, a quick-feeding machine gun ammunition “Ironman Pack” constructed by Iowa Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division in Afghanistan, and a Purple Heart medal awarded to 1st Lt. Sonya Brekke as a result of wounds sustained in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack in Iraq.
Featured aviation artifacts include military flight gear and support equipment, including an F-16C Fighting Falcon flight simulator that visitors can experience firsthand. The aviation section also features the story of Iowa native Gen. (retired) Chuck Horner’s role in coordinating the allied air campaign for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Horner, originally from Davenport and a University of Iowa graduate, commanded the U.S. Central Command Air Forces and led all U.S. and allied air operations during the conflict. Prior to Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Horner flew more than 110 combat missions in Vietnam in the F-105 Thunderchief fighter-bomber. He retired from the Air Force in 1994 after 36 years of service.
According to State of Iowa and Census Bureau statistics, more than 30,000 Iowans served on Active Duty, Reserve, or National Guard duty in support of Desert Shield/Desert Storm and the Global War on Terror from 1990-1991 and 2001-2021. More than 100 Iowans were killed in action or died from injuries or illness during the conflicts.
Established in 1985, the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is the only federally recognized repository for military artifacts in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is twofold: to preserve Iowa’s military history and honor the military service of all Iowans.
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum’s permanent exhibits tell the stories of Iowans who have served in defense of their state and nation, beginning in the early settlement of the state through the Global War on Terror. The museum also contains one of the finest military small arms collections in the Midwest. Additionally, an exhibit detailing the history of the Iowa State Patrol is also on display.
The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum is located on Camp Dodge, 7105 NW 70th Avenue, Johnston, Iowa. Admission is free. Museum hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum is closed Sunday and Monday. Please use the NW 70th Ave. entrance, which is open 24 hours a day. Photo identification is required for adults (age 16 and older) to gain admittance to Camp Dodge (a driver’s license is acceptable).