In service to our nation: Families keep loved ones in prayers

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 22, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

On Friday, an image that will live for years in the minds of those who witnessed the scene is that of U.S. Marines yanking down the giant street portraits of Saddam Hussein in the southern Iraqi town of Safwan, about 375 miles south of Baghdad.

According to reports, when Marines entered the city most of the frightened townspeople hid in their homes, especially since Iraqi forces were sporadically firing mortars and guns for hours on end. But then people started venturing out, first the wounded seeking medical care and later men and boys with white flags. Others came out to beg for food. &uot;Americans very good,&uot; Ali Khemy told AP. &uot;Iraq wants to be free.&uot; Others chanted, &uot;Ameriki! Ameriki!&uot; One of the very few women to come outside actually knelt at the feet of some Marines and embraced an American woman.


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Marines are encountering more and more people from this nation requesting help, and our service personnel are there for that purpose; to help liberate the Iraqi people from the tyranny of a man who would see them destroyed.

Those are the words of one former Marine who is the son of a Marine and the father of a Marine. Charles Robert Terrell Jr. is one of millions of dads and moms, sons and daughters, and countless loved ones with military personnel &uot;over there.&uot; PFC Charles Robert Terrell III carries on a family tradition of serving in the Corps. He is &uot;somewhere&uot; in the desert near the Kuwait/Iraqi border.

His dad, now a Suffolk Police Officer/Field Training Officer, and Marine or not, he wept right alongside thousands of other military parents when his son shipped out for Saddam-land. His young Marine, just out of boot camp, was among the first Marines deployed aboard the U.S.S. Battan.

As the Terrell family – Chuck, Donna, Joshua and Kassie – stood tearfully watching, it was history repeated for Glenda Terrell, his grandmother. She watched, waved and cried also as her young Marine, C.R. Terrell Sr., shipped out in another war.

&uot;It doesn’t get any easier,&uot; she exclaimed. &uot;But, as wives and families of military personnel, we know that it is our particular duty to stand and wait. We just pray… we pray a lot, and I hope that America is praying with us.&uot;

Donna Terrell claims &uot;Chuckie,&uot; the newest Marine in the family, as her &uot;heart’s child.&uot; She may be the &uot;stepmother,&uot; but her heart is that of one who’s felt the pangs of childbirth. She’s watched as the little boy grew into a Lakeland High School graduate, a man and now, a Marine.

&uot;Chuckie was destined to become a Marine,&uot; said Donna. &uot;He was born Sept. 5, 1981, at Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. Both his grandfathers and parents are veterans of the Corp, and he entered May 2002 at Paris Island, S.C. He graduated from basic combat school at Camp Geiger, N.C., and then graduated from the MC Basic Artillery School Fort Sill, Ok. He’s already had a lot of training, and we are trusting God to keep him safe.&uot;

As for his dad, Terrell is a proud father of three to begin with, but he’s about to burst his uniform buttons with pride in his Marine Corp son.

&uot;When he was a little fellow, he would always wear my old MC Camies when playing and pretending he was a Marine,&uot; said Terrell. &uot;It was harmless play back then, but I always knew that someday he would choose to face the real thing. No father wants his son to go to war, but he is serving our country and for that we are proud, and we trust that God will bring him safely home.&uot;

His son was, like all Americans, angry and confused when the Sept. 11th tragedy occurred.

&uot;He could not understand how anyone could want to hurt innocent people,&uot; said Terrell. &uot;What could I tell him? What could we say to any of our youth? They don’t understand evil any more than our grandparents did during World War II where my father served or those unsung heroes of the Korean Conflict or the Vietnam War.&uot;

Terrell and his wife and children all miss Chuck. His little sister, Kassie, has a huge photograph positioned in her bedroom, just where he greets her each time she enters the door. She talks to him, prays with him, and be sure that she misses him terribly. After all, they play ball together, climb rock walls together, Scuba together and share untold memories.

&uot;Someday, I will be a Marine, too,&uot; said Kassie. &uot;I am very proud of my brother, my dad, and my grandparents and I want to be just like them. I also want to get big rank so I can tell my big brother what to do!&uot;

Typical of any sister… Maybe, but she is not the typical child. Kassie last saw her brother at Camp Lejeune. She’s waiting and counting the days until Hussein is defeated and her brother comes home. She is not alone.

&uot;It was hard helping Chuckie pack up his personal belongings so we could bring them back home with us,&uot; said Terrell. &uot;Donna and I were standing at the base as the guys were about to leave and Chuckie saw another mother crying. He leaned over, put a reassuring hand on her should and told her, &uot;Don’t worry, ma’am, I’ll take care of your son.’ What kind of man would say that? He was only a boy himself. No… rather, he is the kind of man that takes my breath away with deep pride. He is a Marine….&uot;

Another 2002 Lakeland High graduate just completed basic training on Paris Island, and is continuing his training at Camp Geiger. New to being a Marine parent, PFC Adam L. Kania’s mother is finding it hard to accept that her son is headed into war when he just left high school.

Kania, 19, visited with his parents, Janice and Sidney Kania, and sisters Michele Gray and Tammy Taylor just before he left.

I am definitely worried about my son,&uot; said Janice Kania. &uot;I worry about the possibility of his having to go into battle now that we are at war with Iraq. I will deal with this, however, since it’s what he’s chosen to do with his life. I have a lot of faith in God and we are all just praying for Adam’s safe return. I would greatly appreciate the prayers of others for my son.&uot;

Another more seasoned member of the military, Navy Senior Chief Jack Mickle, has served the country for the past 15 years. He’s on shore duty at Naval Station Norfolk, but he was part of Operation Desert Storm in the ’90s, is ready to return to the fray to make sure his children don’t have to face Saddam Hussein.

&uot;I had just turned 21 when I entered the Gulf War,&uot; said Mickle. &uot;The first thing I did was to call my mom back in Nashville (Tenn.). She, like any mother, was extremely concerned. As for my feelings about it, I was very naive and I didn’t know what to expect over in Saudi Arabia. I only knew of the things he’d (Saddam) had done and that someone had to stop him. I didn’t know when, or even if, I would come back to the States and that was scary enough.&uot;

As Mickle said, battling Saddam once was not enough. Now, he’s living day by day, expecting to get the call at any moment.

&uot;We have to answer that call,&uot; he added. &uot;Hindsight is 20/20; however, it should show that maybe we should have taken out Saddam. I don’t know… We hoped that he would be a man of his word to the U.S., and obviously he didn’t. He’s had more than a chance and it is definitely time to stop him.

&uot;We can take a sense of great pride that as Americans, it is our duty to go in there to liberate the Iraqi people. Ronald Reagan put it best: ‘peace through strength.’ I believe war in and of itself is a savage thing, and innocent people will die. Do we want it? No, but war in and of itself is not evil. As we look back in history, we will see that Saddam had the chemical and biological weapons to destroy us.

&uot;We cannot wait to see what the world will do. I take great pride in what the American military personnel are doing.&uot;

Mickle met his wife, Julie, live in the village of Holland. They met while he was stationed at Little Creek Amphibious Base, Norfolk. They has three children; 9-month-old Nicole, Noah, 4; and Joshua, 9.

The Terrells and the Mickles ask that every person in Suffolk pray for their loved ones and friends serving in the military. As they pointed out, disagree with the fact of war, but support the men and women who are trying to liberate the Iraqi people and protect this nation from attacks by Saddam Hussein and his henchmen.

Anyone who would like to write to PFC Terrell should send mail, including health and hygiene items (especially sun screen and baby wipes) to PFC C.R. Terrell III, 1st Bn., 10th Marine Div., Camp Lejeune, N.C., 28547.