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Families say don't forget other soldiers

  |   April 14, 2003 at 2:46 PM
FORT HOOD, Texas, April 14 (UPI) -- The families of two former prisoners of war Monday cautioned the nation not to forget the U.S. military personnel still missing in action and in combat in Iraq.

At a news conference, Chief Warrant Officer Michelle Williams rejoiced that her husband, Chief Warrant Officer David Williams, was one of the seven POWs rescued Sunday, but she urged Americans to continue the prayers that helped her husband survive.

"There are still soldiers in harm's way," she said.

Williams, who is an Army helicopter pilot like her husband, said she was awakened at 5:30 a.m. Sunday with the "great news." The young mother said the past three weeks had been rough, but she remained confident.

"I really thought this day would come," she told reporters.

Williams said her husband looked liked he had lost some weight but appeared elated in the video she saw of him boarding a helicopter after his rescue.

"He looked very happy, but I saw relief in his eyes and that meant the world to me," she said.

David Williams, 30, and Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Young Jr., 26, were flying a Longbow Apache helicopter that was shot down March 24 on a mission in southern Iraq. They were briefly shown on Iraqi television after their capture.

Williams and Young are soldiers in the 1st Battalion, 227 Aviation Regiment, 4th Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. Their helicopter unit was deployed earlier this year but most of their division remains at the Texas Army post, awaiting orders.

Col. James McConville, the 4th Brigade commander, told reporters the post was relieved to hear the two were rescued and a celebration is being planned for their return to Fort Hood.

In Lithia Springs, Ga., the parents of Young were jubilant in a news conference outside their house.

"To bring all seven of them home like that is a miracle," said Kaye Young, who was celebrating her birthday Monday. "We know everybody's prayers brought that miracle home for us. We only have a few more to get home."

The other five POWs are from the Army's 507th Maintenance Company based at Fort Bliss in West Texas. Six soldiers were taken prisoner and nine of their comrades were killed March 23 in an ambush in An Nasiriyah in southern Iraq.

Pfc. Jessica Lynch, the sixth 507th soldier taken prisoner, was rescued in a raid April 1. She was flown to Washington's Walter Reed Army Medical Center during the weekend for treatment of her injuries.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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