Rossi served as a CH-47 Chinook pilot with the 18th Aviation Brigade, commanding B Company, 2d Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, stationed at Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, Georgia. Her company deployed to Saudi Arabia in support of Operation Desert Shield in 1990. At the time, she was married to CWO John Anderson Cayton, another helicopter pilot. When the Gulf War broke out, both she and her husband deployed to Saudi Arabia, where they served in different units, in accordance with Army policy to separate spouses.
Rossi led a flight of her company’s CH-47 Chinook helicopters 50 miles (80 km) into Iraq on February 24, 1991, ferrying fuel and ammunition during the very first hours of the ground assault by the Coalition Forces. Her company would be involved in supply missions throughout the war. Rossi was killed when her helicopter crashed into an unlit microwave tower in Northern Saudi Arabia on March 1, 1991, the day after the ceasefire agreement. She was buried on March 11, 1991 with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
In 1992, she was inducted into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame. Other military awards and decorations:
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal (twice)
National Defense Service Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal (with two Bronze Stars for two designated campaigns)
Korea Defense Service Medal
Army Service Ribbon
Army Overseas Service Ribbon
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
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