In Remembrance

The Persian Gulf War

Maj. Marie T. Rossi  '80
Major Marie T. Rossi

    Major Rossi died at age 32 on March 1, 1991, when the Chinook helicopter she was piloting flew into an unlighted microwave tower at night and in bad weather the day after the Operation Desert Storm ceasefire had come into effect.  The crash took place near her base in northern Saudia Arabia and also claimed the lives of three others in her crew.
   The unit she commanded, Company "B" of the 159th Aviation Battalion, 24th Infantry Division, had been among the very first American units to cross into enemy held territory and spent the pivotal days of the operation flying fuel and ammunition to the rapidly advancing 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions.
   A graduate of River Dell Regional High School near her home in Oradell, New Jersey, she entered Dickinson in the autumn of 1976 and graduated with her class of 1980 as a Psychology major. While at the College she was an Outstanding R.O.T.C. cadet.
   Major Rossi is buried in Arlington Cemetery, the only female casualty of the Gulf War so honored.  Her simple epitaph there commemorates her pioneering sacrifice and reads "First Female Combat Commander To Fly into Battle."

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