CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Strike On Iraq: Families Worry For Soldiers Oversees
Aired March 20, 2003 - 17:49 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division has a key role in the war. The 101st is known as the "Screaming Eagles." It's based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
CNN's David Mattingly has been talking with family members of the soldiers. And he joins us now live -- David.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Wolf. No official word out of the 101st Airborne today here at Fort Campbell. But the unofficial order of the day for everyone involved here seems to be to keep going, stay occupied, keep busy with your jobs, your family, your friends, your children, anything to keep occupied so that you are not overwhelmed by the events of the day.
And we found some soldiers from the 101st taking that unofficial order to heart today. They are all female members of the 101st, and they share a special bond because their husbands have been deployed overseas. They could not be deployed with them because they are all pregnant. So they are now gathering together, sharing this common experience that they have and trying to work through the many layers of emotions that they are now going through.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As a soldier, I wish I was there. As a wife, I'm really worried about my husband. And, as a mom, I just hope this is all over before my baby's born.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm scared because my husband's over there, but I also know it's our job. So it's something we train for all of the time. So you just -- I don't know. I'm a wife, so it's hard. But, you know, I'm also a soldier, so you have to watch and just hope everything is going all right over there.
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MATTINGLY: And there are all appearances of business as usual here, at least as business as usual has been since the troops deployed back in late February.
Right now, the headline at the local paper here is that the "101st is ready for assault." The soldiers I talked to before deployment saying they were very anxious to make their mark, make their history in this particular conflict. Everyone, of course, waiting for some kind of word of what the 101st is doing, some evidence of that that is going on. We have some video to show you of the local post office. Normally, there have been lines out the door at this post office for people lining up, often an hour at a time, to ship packages off to their loved ones in the Persian Gulf. Today, the lines are very small, suggesting that people are staying home, glued to the TVs, looking for some kind of information -- Wolf.
BLITZER: CNN's David Mattingly with an important story back home. Thanks very much, David Mattingly, for that report. And as David just said, this is a very difficult time for military families and perhaps hardest for the children of the men and women taking part in Operation Iraqi Freedom, some of whom have not seen their parents in months.
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JESSICA MURRAY, MILITARY DAUGHTER: It's just really hard knowing that he's not here every night, and that I can't go up to him and just give him a kiss whenever I want to.
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BLITZER: Sad moments after last night's coalition airstrikes. Iraqi television presented what it said was a message from the president, Saddam Hussein. There's some speculation that the man who appeared on television was, perhaps, an impostor designed to look as Saddam Hussein.
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