Phoning from home

Dr. Maged S. Khoory heard nothing of his family in Baghdad for 10 days.

Then, a stranger called.

They’re all right, said the man. The stranger had somehow spoken to Khoory’s family in Iraq and managed to reach a working telephone. The was calling numbers for several families with ties to the west. For a moment, Khoory felt relief.

But with each passing moment – with each bomb that falls on the city where he was raised – the relief fades. His sister is there with her family. They are frightened. He prays.

“Their nerves are raw,” said Khoory. “It’s not like this thing is over.”

A U.S. citizen, Khoory is a medical doctor temporarily working at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

Contact was severed with his family after U.S. bombs destroyed post offices across the city, Khoory said. The post offices were used by many people for their telephones, which were linked to long-distance services.

One of the demolished post offices was two blocks from his sister’s home. A nunnery was even closer, he said.

Khoory’s sister contemplated leaving the city, but the family worried that they might be in more trouble on the road.

“They found that the lesser of two evils was to stay,” he said.

-Daniel Hartill
Homeland defense

Three weeks after Operation: Iraqi Freedom started, John Guay’s son is still at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

But Ryan Guay, a 22-year-old Marine reservist, has a new assignment.

He has been chosen to join an 88-person force that will react to any terrorism, homeland security issue or crisis situation in the continental United States.

The force must be ready to fly anywhere in America on 90 minutes notice.

“To whatever’s needed,” he said.

Although Guay has joined the new quick reaction force, he may still be shipped overseas. Rumors continue to swirl at Camp Lejeune about deployments.

Said John Guay, “It’s day to day.”

– Lindsay Tice
New Vineyard
Good ship news

Brian Ellis’ mother Carol was excited.

A friend of hers told her he heard on the news that the one of the longest deployed battleships would be coming home.

That would be Brian’s aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, she said.

But she hasn’t heard it herself.

“We’re hoping for the end of April or first part of May … that would be sweet,” she said.

Brian, 23, has been on the ship in Kuwait for more than 10 months.

“I’m hanging in there,” Ellis said. “I have my good days and my bad days.

She and other military families held a bake sale last Sunday to support the troops.

All proceeds will go to the military relief fund, she said, the same as bake sale proceeds.

-Donna M. Perry
Months on alert

For Kelly Martin, waiting is the hardest part.

Martin does the same work as Jessica Lynch, the prisoner of war who was rescued last week. “That could have been me,” Martin said.

The 19-year-old University of Maine at Farmington freshman from Madawaska is an automated logistical supply specialist with the 152nd Maintenance Co. of the Army National Guard.

She has been on alert, the step right before mobilization, since Feb 14.

Like Lynch, Martin joined for challenge, adventure and assistance with college tuition.

Her four olive-green duffel bags have been packed for two months.

If she is going to be deployed, she just wants to get it over with.

“I don’t want to go, but if I have to go, I guess I’d just go and do my job. We just want to know when.”

The Army is good for her, Martin said. It has made her organized and proud. “It’s a different life,” she said. “I know I am part of something that the whole world knows about.”

-Samantha C. DePoy

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