An Oklahoma military family awaits word from Iraq

Thursday, January 8th 2004, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Helicopters are prime targets for rebels in Iraq. About 15 US choppers have gone down since the war began, killing more than 60 coalition troops.

News on 6 anchor Tami Marler talked with a local family waiting for word about Thursday's downed Blackhawk.

Every person serving in Iraq has someone waiting at home and worrying every time there's news of another attack.

For Gail and Marguerite Davis, watching and waiting for the US military to release information about a downed Blackhawk is never easy. "We're on pins and needles, and of course anytime anything like this happens, the phone rings off the hook."

Gail says she loves her daughter's husband Jimmy Wade like a son and she's proud of his service in the Army, as a Blackhawk pilot. He's also a father of three. "If I'd have gone to a book and picked out one for my daughter, I couldn't have done any better."

"He walks on water and sleeps on gold and he's just the finest of fine." Gail says Jimmy cheated death once, when he served in Somalia. She says he piloted the chopper that inspired the movie "Blackhawk Down", until the day before it was shot down and ravaged in Mogadishu. Now he's commanding a medical evacuation crew, somewhere in Iraq.

"But I know on these Blackhawks there's four to a crew, so if there's ever more on a Blackhawk, they're transporting somebody." Of course these are medevacs, so usually they fly into hot spots and pick up injured and fly them back out.

Wade is based in Fort Carson, Colorado, an Army base that's suffered heavy losses in the war in Iraq. Two of Fort Carson soldiers were killed in May 2003, when their medevac helicopter was fired upon, several more soldiers lost their lives in attacks on helicopters in November.

1st Lieutenant Jimmy Wade's family is counting the days until his safe return. "We were real glad when he got out of Somalia, and we'll be real glad when he gets out of Iraq."

Jimmy Wade and his family are from Stigler, Oklahoma, but they're all living in Fort Carson. The military has not released specific information about the Blackhawk that went down Thursday.