Search  
Click Here!    
Good Morning America World News Tonight 20/20 Primetime Nightline WNN This Week
March 28, 2003
 
HOMEPAGE
NEWS SUMMARY
US
INTERNATIONAL
MONEYScope
WEATHER
LOCAL NEWS
ENTERTAINMENT
ESPN SPORTS
SCI / TECH
POLITICS
HEALTH
TRAVEL
FEATURED SERVICES
RELATIONSHIPS
SHOPPING
DOWNLOADS
WIRELESS
INTERACT
VIDEO & AUDIO
BOARDS
CHAT
NEWS ALERTS
CONTACT ABC
ABCNEWS.com


(AP Photo)
12 Marines Missing During S. Iraq Battle
At Least 12 Marines Listed As Missing in Action During Battle Near Southern Iraq Town of Nasiriyah

The Associated Press


Print This Page
Email This Page
See Most Sent
How Military Spouses Stay Connected
Have the 'Rules of War' Been Violated in Iraq?
How War Looks Depends on Where You Are
March 28

At least 12 Marines deployed to the war in Iraq have been reported missing during several days of fighting near the southern Iraq town of Nasiriyah.

Earlier this week, the Pentagon said seven of the missing are stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and another at the nearby Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station. Four soldiers from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force were reported missing near Nasiriyah on Friday, but their names and other details were not disclosed.

They are sons, husbands, brothers and fathers from across the country whose loved ones are sharing pain and uncertainty, along with an aching hope for their safe return.

Cpl. Kemaphoom Chanawongse, 22, among those who remain unaccounted for, is known as "Chuckles" in his unit for his sparkling sense of humor.

Lance Cpl. Michael Williams, 31, is a "big teddy bear" who enlisted because of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Pfc. Tamario Burkett is known by friends and family as an artist and a doting big brother who worried before he left for Iraq whether God would forgive him if he had to kill someone in combat.

"You gotta be hopeful. That's all you can do is hope and pray and know that everything's in God's hands," said Raymond Wilson of Buffalo, Burkett's father.

Debra Nixon of Gallatin, Tenn., is shaken over the missing report of her 21-year-old son, Lance Cpl. Patrick Nixon. "I just wish they hadn't even told us," she said.

Nixon's father, David, is a Vietnam veteran, and the family has sent soldiers to World War I, World War II and Korea.

The other missing Marines were identified by the Pentagon as Lance Cpl. Thomas Blair, 24, of Broken Arrow, Okla.; Lance Cpl. Donald Cline Jr., 21, of Sparks, Nev.; Pvt. Jonathan Gifford Jr., 20, of Decatur, Ill., and Pvt. Nolen Ryan Hutchings, 19, of Boiling Springs, S.C.

Chanawongse, 22, who came to the United States from Thailand at age 9, was described warmly by friends, and his wit was visible Friday in a photo album of Marine life: a picture of a tank emerging from the woods is captioned, "Hey, which way is Domino's?"

Steve Cava, 22, said he last spoke with his friend shortly before Chanawongse deployed overseas. He said Chanawongse told him, "I'm going to be back soon. I just got to go do my thing and I'm coming home."

"They're not going to give up," Chanawongse's stepfather, Paul Patchem, said in Waterford, Conn. "I know the Marines. They won't give up on him."

From South Carolina, Larry Hutchings shared that faith as he and his wife, Carolyn, awaited word about their 19-year-old son.

"I put Carolyn to bed and told her they'll look for our son and find him somewhere behind a sand dune," Hutchings told the (Spartanburg) Herald-Journal.

Hutchings grew up wanting to be a Marine. Gifford, too, had considered military service for several years, his father said.

Burkett's six younger brothers and sisters, ages 1 to 18, kept close to their parents Friday, too upset to go to school, worried looks on the faces of those old enough to understand. Neighbors offered prayers and said they would tie yellow ribbons on trees up and down the street.

At 21, Burkett is the oldest of Raymond and Brenda Wilson's children. His letters home have had a special note for each sibling: Katrina, 15, should stay away from boys and 18-year-old Raymond should focus on school.

As he prepared for combat, Burkett didn't worry about his own safety, his mother said. "He said, 'Ma, God is going to forgive me if I kill someone over there?'" she said. "I said, 'Yes, you're doing what you have to do.'"

The Wilsons were told their son was helping secure a bridge near Nasiriyah when his unit came under fire. "They dispersed and that was the last they saw of him," Raymond Wilson said.

Donald Cline's wife, Tina, said she was encouraged by the fact that the military had found three of her husband's squadron members alive.

"I never prayed so hard that my muscles turned purple," she told KTVN-TV in Reno, Nev.

She said she and her sons, Dakota, 2, and Dylan, 7 months, are living with her mother. "Every time I look at my oldest son, I feel it in my heart I feel it so deeply that he is OK," she said.

Williams gave up his Phoenix flooring business to join the military after the Sept. 11 attacks, his fiancee, Heather Strange, told The Arizona Republic. His mother, Sandy Watson, called her 6-foot-4, 240-pound son a "big teddy bear."

"There's a lot of people praying for him," Watson said. "People at church and at work. With all that prayer behind him, how could he not be all right?"

Brenda Wilson said her phone has been ringing nonstop with calls of support, but so far, no news. "I'm praying with each ring it could be someone saying, 'We have your baby we found him. He's on his way home.'"

On the Net:

Camp Lejeune:


photo credit and caption:
An undated U.S. Marine Corps photo of Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford Jr., 20, of Macon, Ill., who is one of eight Marines who haven't been seen since a battle Sunday near the southern Iraq town of An Nasiriyah, whose names were released by the Pentagon, Thursday, March 27, 2003. (AP Photo/USMC via WAND-TV)

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 
 
  RELATED STORIES
International Index
More Raw News
 
 INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES
Major Battles Expected Outside Baghdad
Poll: More Americans Foresee Casualties
Blair: There Has Been No Surprises in Iraq
Young Survivors Remember First Gulf War
Why Iraq War Looks Different Worldwide

 


Copyright 2003 ABCNEWS Internet Ventures.
Click here for:  HELP   ADVERTISER INFO   CONTACT ABC   TOOLS   PR   TERMS OF USE   PRIVACY POLICY

Family of sites:      ABC.com        ABC Family        ESPN.com        Disney.com        FamilyFun.com        GO Mail        Movies.com