WASHINGTON – A D.C. memorial honoring those who fought in Operation Desert Storm is getting closer to its goal of opening in 2021 thanks to a $100,000 donation from a company.
Scott Stump has led the effort to build a memorial to his comrades’ service by the 30th anniversary of the Kuwait invasion.
“We want to be the Desert Storm of memorials. We want to get in, get it done and we want to leave,” said the Stump, CEO of the National Desert Storm War Memorial.
Pilot Flying J, a chain of truck stops in the United States and Canada, announced Wednesday that it donated $100,000 to help build the National Desert Storm War Memorial. Stump said the funding will help pay for the 25-step process involved in site selection and environmental assessments necessary to build.
“It’s gratifying knowing that all that was accomplished is not going to be forgotten 50, 100, even 200 years from now,” Stump said.
The $25 million memorial, approved by President Donald Trump in March, honors those who fought in the 1991 conflict, which included the liberation of Kuwait.
“On behalf of our 26,000 team members, we believe this donation is one small way that we can demonstrate how proud we are of the men and women who serve,” Pilot Flying J CEO Jimmy Haslam said in a news release.
The nonprofit behind the memorial is in the beginning phase of fundraising, Stump said.
“Once the National Park Service determines the location of the Memorial, we move to the next phase of rigorous fundraising and finalization of the design concepts,” Stump said.
The National Park Service hosted meetings last month about two proposed locations for the memorial: the Memorial Circle area at George Washington Memorial Parkway on Columbia Island or at the Constitution Avenue terminus area near 23rd Street NW. The public comment period for the proposed locations ended Monday.
Stump said the nonprofit’s preference is the location at Constitution Avenue and 23rd Street because of its proximity to the Vietnam Memorial — Desert Storm was the largest military operation after the Vietnam War, he said. Also, the site is more walkable and closer to other war memorials.
“There were so many links between Desert Storm and Vietnam due to the leadership and even people in the ranks who had served both in Vietnam and Desert Storm and also the walkability. It’s very pedestrian friendly and easily accessible,” Stump said.
When the location is finalized, more rigorous fundraising and outreach efforts will begin, he said.
Stump said he hopes to see the memorial in place by 2020 or, at the latest, 2021 — a year that would mark 30 years since the war.
The memorial has a proposed design that takes the shape of a “left hook” military maneuver, which worked very successfully for U.S. forces during Desert Storm.
WTOP’s Megan Cloherty contributed to this report.