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Families of U.S. Soldiers Still in Iraq Wait Anxiously

Aired June 30, 2003 - 20:41   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to turn our attention now to Iraq. While the morale of the 146,000 U.S. troops in Iraq is of great concern, so is the morale of their families and comrades back home. Thelma Gutierrez takes us to a Colorado town where the anxiety level is especially high.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

THELMA GUTIERREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the mountain community of Colorado Springs, the war in Iraq is not over, not for the 12,000 soldiers based at Fort Carson still in Iraq.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm from Georgia -- Columbus, Georgia. And he was stationed at Fort Benning.

GUTIERREZ: And not for the families left behind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not over until they bring our guys home.

GUTIERREZ: Sergeant Siegfriedo Bobonis (ph) is somewhere in northern Iraq. The past few days have been filled with anxiety for his wife, Menzer, and son, Aleki (ph).

MENZER BOBONIS, WIFE OF U.S. SOLDIER: For the last three days, I mean, there's been, you know, a few soldiers killed and wounded. And it's scary.

ALEKI BOBONIS, SON OF U.S. SOLDIER: When some people get hurt, they don't tell names. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) hope that it's not my dad.

GUTIERREZ: In this town, the wait is painful. Yellow ribbons hang on a tree in the First Baptist Church.

REV. MICHAEL SAYLER, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH: Every person in the community is directly or indirectly affected.

GUTIERREZ (on camera): That's because 11 soldiers from Fort Carson have been killed in Iraq ever since May 1, when President Bush declared that major combat had ended.

(voice-over): At the local diner, Vietnam veteran Dan Gleeson and Korean war veteran Howard Deveau worry the casualty count will grow.

DAN GLEESON, VIETNAM WAR VETERAN: We got another Vietnam going on right here. Same thing. It started the same way -- light involvement. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) heavy in the initial involvement. But right now, it's the same thing. The guerrilla warfare -- you cannot win at guerrilla warfare.

HOWARD DEVEAU, KOREAN WAR VETERAN: I just think I'd take our troops out of there. I don't see any reason for any of our boys getting killed in a place like that.

GUTIERREZ: For now, Menzer and Aleki cling to Siegfriedo via e- mail.

MENZER BOBONIS: "Hello, wife. I am sending this e-mail to you."

ALEKI BOBONIS: "Hi, Aleki. How are you doing? I miss you a lot. Make sure that you help your mother around the house."

MENZER BOBONIS: "Well, I have to go now. I'll try and call you sometime later. Love you very much. Your husband."

GUTIERREZ: Thelma Gutierrez, CNN, Colorado Springs, Colorado.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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