Saturday, March 29, 2003

Keeping in touch

Tristate reacts to war


When your son is a combat Marine fighting his way through Iraq, the last thing you expect when the phone rings is the sound of your son's voice.

But early Friday morning, Tom and Marcia Webb of Delhi Township took a call that helped ease weeks of anxiety and fear - from their son, Lance Corporal James T. Webb, from outside the Iraqi town of Umm Qasr. "It was wonderful just hearing his voice," said Mrs. Webb, who hadn't talked to her son since January and hasn't read an e-mail from him in over two weeks.

The younger Webb is a member of Task Force Tarawa, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, that has been battling for control of the southern Iraq town for over a week.

The Enquirer wants to share the stories of the hundreds of Tristate men and women serving in the U.S. armed forces and their families. If you are willing to share your story, contact reporter Howard Wilkinson. E-mail: Telephone: (513) 768-8388 Mail: Howard Wilkinson, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Mrs. Webb said that about 1:35 a.m. Friday, they got a call from the 23-year-old Marine's girlfriend, Kristin Wirtz of Colerain Township, saying she had just gotten a call from Webb, who was pictured on the front page of Sunday's Enquirer. "He told her, `don't worry about me; I'll be home soon,'" Mrs. Webb said.

Minutes later, the Webbs' phone rang and it was their son. "I asked him if he had been shot at and he said, `I've been shot at plenty,'" his mother said.

The conversation lasted for only about two minutes because he was talking on the personal cell phone of a fellow Marine and a number of his comrades were lined up to use the phone. The call came at about 10 a.m. Iraq time.

"It was just good being able to talk to him for a minute and know that he is okay," Mrs. Webb said.

Howard Wilkinson

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