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Marianne S. Waldrop Gulf War correspondence

 Collection — Box: Gulf War 1, Folder: 7-8, Folder: 1-2
Identifier: 2018-155-w-r

Content Description

This collection contains thirty six correspondence between 1st Lt. Marianne S. Waldrop, USMC and her parents, including other authors, during the Gulf War. Included are twenty letters from Lt. Waldrop, twelve from her parents, two letters from her cousin Ed, and two from fellow Marine coworkers. Also included are service histories of both Marianne and her father. Some letters from Col. Waldrop include envelopes with a shield emblem, "Operation Desert Shield, Saudi Arabia."

Lt. Waldrop wrote to her parents from Camp 15 in al Jubail, Saudi Arabia during her time overseas and speculated on when the war would begin and the hot, dusty conditions of the desert climate, as well as the burning oil fields in Kuwait. She went to Riyadh and Bahrain, and frequently discussed scud missile attacks and the Patriot Missiles that protected her position, as well as those where her friends were located, such as First Lieutenant Ann E. Ebert, USMC who was assigned to a liaison position in Riyadh. She describes the situations, usually getting advanced notice being in the intelligence operation, in which everyone must protect themselves from SCUD alarms with gas masks, flak jackets, "war gear," and entering a bunker with limited protection. A large portion of the correspondence between them discusses her finances, specifically her Imminent Danger Pay and taking care of bills back home.

Of note is the fact that Lt. Waldrop specifically speaks to the nature of serving as a woman, especially a woman officer, which is mentioned also by her former coworker, Master Sergeant H.A. Weatherly, Jr., USMC, who wrote a letter of praise about her to her father. This is highlighted by the fact that she apparently had many female Marine friends join her overseas, including Lt. Ebert, the 1st Radio Bn. adjutant, a woman named Ann Moreland, and the Officer in Charge (OIC) of the 3rd Marine Air Wing SIGINT Det. She also mentions the fact that policy may change because women do not have to worry about being physically inferior, due to the fact that there is not a lot of hiking for them and vehicles are plentiful, including Japanese civilian cars donated as Japan's part of the war effort.

Lt. Waldrop also mentions her love of sports, particularly football and college basketball, which is echoed by the mentions of sports from her father and cousin in their correspondence to her. On March 1, 1991 she writes a letter while "homeward bound." She says "It looks like Saddam couldn't hang? Got a little more than he could handle!!" She expresses her happiness about the war being over and coming home, though she hopes to stay long enough, three months, to earn her sea service deployment ribbon. On March 20, she says that Ann is homeward bound with the advance party of their battalion and that the battalion officers are getting a shake up, with most officers receiving new orders soon. She was told that she could be loading planes by April 1, "this would be great!"

Her father's correspondence discusses cultural awareness of her surroundings and the importance of enjoying, as well as recording, this important experience in her life better than he did in Korea or Vietnam. He also mentions the news about the war and the famous CNN coverage of bombing in Baghdad, though he is critical of much of the later coverage.

Also of note are her cousin's correspondence to her. Specialist Fourth Grade Ed Sylvester, United States Army, discusses in two letters the differences and similarities between the war in Vietnam and the Gulf War, making particular mention of the support for troops and buying new veterans dinner just to talk to someone about their experience and share his own. Marianne's correspondence also mentions the "obvious effort" to support troops in this war. S/4 Sylvester also mentions a near-friendly fire incident in an F16 Tomcat and the significance of this war on future generations, impressing this fact upon Lt. Waldrop.


  • 1990 December 20 - 1991 September 17

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions on the use of this material except where previously copyrighted material is concerned. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain all permissions.

Biographical / Historical

Colonel Marianne S. Waldrop, United States Marine Corps (Ret.), PhD (b. 1/6/1965) was born in Quantico, Virginia to Mary Anne and Colonel Floyd H. Waldrop, United States Marine Corps (Ret.). She attended a Navy Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) in college in 1985. She wanted to join the Marine Corps as an officer so she joined and entered officer candidate school (OCS).

Waldrop was commissioned in 1987 and served with 2nd Radio Battalion, 1st Marine Division and acted as Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Liaison Officer with the SIGINT Detachment of the 3rd Marine Air Wing (MAW) in the Gulf War, as part of Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. She later served at overseas posts in Japan and Germany, and was reactivated from the reserves to participate in the Global War on Terror and Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. She retired November 1, 2011 and earned a doctorate in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego in 2016, with a thesis entitled


0.1 Linear feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection contains correspondence between 1st Lt. Marianne S. Waldrop, USMC and her parents during the Gulf War. Also included are correspondence to her from her cousin and to her parents from various Lt. Waldrop's coworkers.


This collection is arranged by recipient and chronology;

  • Folder 1, Correspondence to Mr. and Mrs. Waldrop
  • Folder 2, Correspondence to Marianne Waldrop and biographical information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Colonel Marianne S. Waldrop, USMC (Ret.), PhD

Finding Aid for the Marianne S. Waldrop Gulf War correspondence
Andrew Harman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Center for American War Letters Archives Repository

Leatherby Libraries
Chapman University
Orange CA 92866 United States