‘It’s the life of the Marine’

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Marine PFC Chuck Terrell III, left his mom, Donna, in tears late Sunday afternoon as he joined about 1,000 other Marines from Camp Lejeune to board the USS Bataan on its way to the Arabian Sea.

Terrell, of Willowbrook Drive, is one of thousands of military personnel headed out to undisclosed destinations in the Middle East. Ironically enough, Terrell was based at Camp Lejeune, the precise location of his birth 21-years ago.

The 844-foot-long Bataan left Norfolk Naval Station, an unusual port of departure for Marines from Camp Lejeune.

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Fortunately, for the Terrells and thousands of other families, the Marines were in Norfolk long enough to share in tearful and emotional good-byes.

&uot;We are just praying for our son now,&uot; said Police Field Training Officer Chuck Terrell. &uot;As a former Marine, I know he has a job to do, but it just doesn’t make it any easier to see your eldest son take off on a ship that you’re almost certain is headed into imminent danger. Donna is ex-Army and she understands the military, but this is truly tearing her up.&uot;

PFC Terrell follows in the steps of his Grandfather, a 67-year old former Marine, and his dad who now serves as a Police Field Training Officer for Suffolk. FTO Terrell has given much of his life to serving the people here and now he is asking help in return. Not for himself, but for the son who bears the third generation name.

&uot;We have begun a &uot;prayer wheel&uot; and we would truly appreciate it if anyone who can will add Chuck and his fellow Marines and sailors to their list of those for whom they are praying,&uot; Terrell explained. &uot;I know for a fact that if it were not for prayers offered for me, I may not have made it through my life.&uot;

Terrell explained that his son did not know until Thursday that they would be part of a vast deployment on Monday. He said the military is providing information on a &uot;one day at a time&uot; basis.

&uot;Chuck called us to ask us to come down to see him before he left,&uot; said the police officer. &uot;He has a job to do and he had to go. We know that. It’s the life of a Marine and we are very proud of Chuck and his service to the country. He is a third generation Marine and we believe this is an honor… to serve the country when the need is there. We are extremely proud… but not too proud to ask God to protect our son…not to proud to ask for prayers from strangers as well as our friends and church family.&uot;

Two other members of the Terrell family, 12-year old Kassie and 19-year old Jacob also said good-bye to their brother Sunday afternoon.

&uot;Try to explain to a 12-year old that her brother has to leave to defend our country,&uot; said Off. Terrell. &uot;She was trying not to cry but very silent and we know she is hurting. She has a big photograph of her brother at home and she has it right where she can see it. He is just so important to her and they love each other so much. Jacob is a student at Paul D. Camp Community College at the Franklin Campus. He’s taking it hard, too, but he’s better able to handle it than their little sister is. She just doesn’t understand why he had to go.&uot;

The Terrells have asked to be contacted by any others in the City of Suffolk with family on their way to the Middle East. They are interested in forming a group for the parents, spouses, and fathers of Marines serving in the Arabian Sea and Middle East.

The Bataan last deployed to the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf on Sept. 19, 2001. It returned to Norfolk last April and was not scheduled to deploy again until summer 2004. It is capable of carrying a landing force of 1,900 Marines.

The Navy is not saying where the ships are headed and they also declined to say if the deployment orders received so suddenly are part of the plan to double the size of the military force currently surrounding Iraq.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered about 62,000 additional troops to head for the Persian Gulf region in coming days. According to senior U.S. officials, that serves as a sign that the Pentagon intends to have sufficient force in place for an Iraq war by the first weeks of February.