The Gulf War (Author Interview)

The Gulf War looks like an in-depth look into the life of a field medic.  Can you tell us a little

about it?

First: Please notice. It is not only about doctors. It is about all persona categories. Nurses, medical technicians, security personnel, officers, logisticians, drivers, etc. A field hospital depends on everyone.

I made the pictures on place during everyday events sometimes dramatic. Nothing is fantasi. The pictures are not photographs but free interpretations of what I saw and experienced. The staff men, women, nurses, electricians cooks, etc. came to the majority from civilian life. About twenty percent were professional soldiers. All showed great ability to collaborate, act and solve complicated problems. There was no question of top management. In other words, people could think for themselves. After only a few days, the manager was able to report home that the field hospital was operational. The war ended and the mission ended. My watercolor pictures were placed in a cupboard and remained there for several years. The experiences from the war aroused an interest in me to understand how different cultures are confronted with each other. I studied at university and which resulted in a Master in Social Anthropology. As if by chance, I found my pictures from the Gulf War hidden far into a box. I understood that I could comment on the pictures from a more scientific perspective. The texts were added long afterwards. I also understood that material could possibly have documentary value and I contacted the Army Museum in Sockholm who were interested. Pictures and text are available today at the Army Museum. For thirty years now, I have been thinking about publishing the material, but it has not been until now. The field hospital was extremely complicated in terms of composition, structure, personnel, operations, logistics, various professions, etc. My work is based on "Participatory Observation". It is in the nature of things that it is subjective. It is thus not a question of a report of the field hospital in its entirety.


Facts and background

It was during the Gulf War 1990-1991 that Sweden, following a request from Great Britain, set up a field hospital on site in the Arabian desert outside the capital Riyadh. The Swedish government made the decision on January 10, 1991, and after recruitment and training, the vanguard was down on February 4. Then everything went fast and on February 10, everyone was in place. The field hospital, with the chief physician and Colonel Kaj Möllefors as commander, was subordinated to British Tactical Control, but the highest military command was exercised by our Swedish commander-in-chief.

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In total, there were 507 Swedes in various positions and on the health care side 30 Dutch people and about ten Englishmen. The field hospital was organized in a staff, a hospital company and a staff / belief company with i.a. guard platoon and military police. The conditions stipulated from the Swedish side that the field hospital should not be located closer to the border with Iraq than 100 kilometers. The designated grouping site turned out to be next to King Khaled International Airport, about 30 km outside Riyadh. The contacts with the locals were few. During vacancies, shopping trips to Riyadh were arranged. For the female staff at the hospital, it was best to wear the black full-length coat, abayan, which the Saudi women were forced to wear outside their homes. At first, the activities at the field hospital were characterized by unemployment. No patients were admitted as long as the war was exclusively aired. But then came the wounded Iraqi prisoners of war. The field hospital's total capacity was 400 care places, and it was possible to receive 100 patients and perform 60 operations per day. More than 2,000 care days were produced and 128 operations were performed. Most consisted of burns, but also shrapnel and gunshot wounds. To give an idea of ​​the field hospital, it can be mentioned that it consisted of 100 tents that covered an area corresponding to three football pitches. Everything weighed 300 tons and took 12 hours to set up. 100 cubic meters of water and 5 cubic meters of fuel were consumed per day. The laundry group took care of one ton of laundry per day. -------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------------------------- -------- Threatened were the Iraqi attacks with SCUD missiles, most of which were successfully shot down with American "Patriot anti-robots". In total, Riyadh received 13 SCUD missiles, one of which struck 6-7 kilometers from the hospital. When the alarm about incoming SCUD was given on TV and on the radio, no one knew if it was combat gas-laden tips or ordinary explosives. It was therefore necessary to be able to maintain a high level of gas readiness. Now it turned out that it was "only" a question of explosives in the warheads.


What will readers get out of your book?

A reportage and refektions  of a Swedish field-hospital in a country abroad and meeting of different values in a society of military alliens and liberation of Kuwait from Sadam Hussein and Iraqi invasion


Did anything stick out as particularly challenging when writing The Gulf War?

 Cooperation is extremely important in solving complex tasks in foreign environments: All for one and one for all. Let people think for themselves. A Social Anthropological Perspective

This report is subjective and based on own presence and eyewitnesses. No claims of objectivity are made. Everyone can draw their own conclusions.

The report is about a small piece in a big whole


Can you tell us a little about your background?

Nurse anesthesia and emergency medical care

Reserve officer in armed forces

Master in Social Anthropology

Bachelor Art History

Where can readers find out more about your work?

You can google “DESSERT STORM”, “SA01”,  “THE GULF WAR” etc.