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More G.I. wives get hoax casualty calls

April 10, 2003 at 10:17 PM

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif., April 10 (UPI) -- Wives of Camp Pendleton Marines involved in the war in Iraq have been receiving crank calls from individuals claiming to work for the Red Cross who regretfully, and falsely, inform them that their spouses had been killed in action.

In a statement, Camp Pendleton reminded military families that genuine casualty notifications are not made by telephone or by the Red Cross.

"Individuals falsely identifying themselves as Red Cross representatives have made prank calls to Camp Pendleton spouses claiming that their loved ones overseas have been killed," the Marine Corps said in a brief statement. "The Marine Corps does not utilize the Red Cross for casualty notification. Marine Corps and Navy representatives conduct all casualty notifications in person for Camp Pendleton."

Camp Pendleton is the home base of the 1st Marine Division, which battled its way into Baghdad and continues to engage Iraqi resisters.

"I honestly can't even fathom someone with that mentality," a Marine wife named "Julia" told The San Diego Union-Tribune Thursday. "I can't even go there in my mind."

"I would assume that a young spouse could believe that kind of call and her world could be shattered," she added.

The Red Cross said last week that families of service members in Michigan, Delaware and Alabama had reported receiving similar calls following the outbreak of the war.

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