Families share war reactions

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 7, 2003

The recent developments in Baghdad are almost like a light at the end of the tunnel for many Pike County residents.

Sue Hoover expects her son Jacky Richburg, who is in Ft. Bening, to be shipped to Iraq within a couple of weeks.

She said she is almost glad he is leaving now.

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"It's like prayers have been answered," she said.

"I wanted us to get into Baghdad before he got there."

Even though she knows there is much more ahead, Hoover can't help but think the worst is over.

"I wanted most of it to be over when he got there," she said.

"And I know there will still be danger, but I feel like the worst will be behind us."

Hoover also has a brother-in-law, Scherr Qualls, who has been deployed.

His wife, Gwen, said Qualls is currently in Doha Qutar.

"He's doing fine," she said.

"His job hasn't really changed a whole lot except that he doesn't come home as much."

Larry Meeks has some experience with sending a son to war.

In the last Persian Gulf war, his son Wesley was a member of the Marine combat unit that entered Kuwait the same night the ground war began.

Now, his son Matt is with the 23rd Marines and is very likely on his way to Iraq.

"We haven't heard from him since last week," Meeks said.

"He was supposed to go to an undisclosed location."

When Meeks heard from him, his son was in 29 Palms, Calif., but Meeks expected him to ship out last Wednesday.

"We'll know this week," he said.

"I think he's probably gone, but we'll hear from him."

Meeks is glad Matt wasn't sent immediately overseas like Wesley, but he is nervous just the same.

Anxiety aside, though, Meeks sees the new military developments in Baghdad as a sign of the beginning of the end and he is grateful for America's military leadership.

"This country is very lucky to have a President and people who are good Christian people running the government," he said.

"With all the new things the military has now, this was a necessary thing to do."

He adds that even though he is scared for the men and women involved, this war will be for the best in the long run.