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May 31, 2001

Nasdaq's Gulf War Hero

By Sanford Wexler

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On August 2, 1990, when thousands of Iraqi troops invaded and occupied oil-rich Kuwait, life for trader J. Patrick Campbell would soon change irrevocably.

President George Bush vowed that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein would either withdraw his troops or they would be severely defeated.

"There is no place for this sort of naked aggression in today's world," Bush declared.

By Christmas Day, Bush had ordered nearly 500,000 U.S. troops to Saudi Arabia as part of Operation Desert Shield. One of those mobilized was J. Patrick (Pat) Campbell, now president of Nasdaq U.S. Markets. He was then 41 years old working in Columbus, Ohio, as a senior executive and trader with The Ohio Company, now part of Fifth Third Bank. He was also a U.S. Air Force Reserve Command Pilot.

Like thousands of other reservists, Campbell was ready for military action.

The son of a career military officer, Pat Campbell knew the rigors of military life. "It was yes, sir; no, sir; no excuse, sir," he quipped in an interview.

His father, John Campbell, was a member of what has been called, 'The Greatest Generation.' Campbell senior served in World War II and was in the squadron that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan.

Military Background

"My father was a colonel in the U.S. Air Force," Campbell said. "So I guess I was what you call an Air Force brat."

Campbell and his family moved frequently around the world from base to base. "I lived in a lot of different places: Tripoli, Libya; Frankfurt, Germany; and many other places," he said.

Upon graduation from Ohio University in 1971, Campbell joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves and attended pilot training school. He learned how to fly all kinds of fixed wing aircraft - from passenger and cargo planes to refueling tankers and high performance jet fighters.

Around Christmas in 1990, Campbell's USAF Reserve unit was activated by President Bush. He left behind his wife, Ellen, and their two young boys at his home in Columbus, Ohio, and joined the USAF 160 Air Refueling Group Ohio National Guard, in the Persian Gulf.

Campbell and his crew were charged with refueling cargo planes, fighters, and bombers. He piloted a KC-135E, a refueling tanker that is about the size of a commercial 707 airliner. It can carry some 200,000 pounds of fuel.

Stationed in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Campbell and a small team of U.S. airmen set up a large-scale flying operation at a commercial airport.

"We were in touch with our fighters that were stationed all over the world," he said. "From the day we landed we were putting together a combat communications capability to communicate with the Pentagon and setting up a facility to house all of our people in a tent city. We were getting everything ready to go so once the war was declared we were prepared."

On January 16, 1991, at a little past 9:00 p.m. EST, President Bush announced to the nation in a televised address from the Oval Office that he had issued the order to begin the air war to liberate Kuwait.