Gulfport Students Have Personal Connection To POW In Iraq - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

04/16/03

Gulfport Students Have Personal Connection To POW In Iraq

Former POW Ronald Young escorted by US Marines onto waiting C-130 transport, south of Baghdad, Iraq. Former POW Ronald Young escorted by US Marines onto waiting C-130 transport, south of Baghdad, Iraq.

Some fifth graders are creating a surprise to send to a beloved pen pal overseas. The Bayou View Elementary students have been writing letters to one of the pilots serving in the War with Iraq -- Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Young.  He's a good friend of their teacher Noel Allen.

Ms. Allen only felt comfortable talking about Ronald Young with her students. The students talked with us about why he's become their friend, too.

Caitlyn Simpson said "Ms Allen had told us a lot about him, and I figured 'wow' he must be a great guy to go over there and risk his life for America".

Rachel Anderson said "We sent paper and pencils and envelops, because in his letter he asked us to send them, so he could write back to us".

But the letters suddenly stopped. On March 24th, Young's Apache Attack helicopter went down south of Baghdad. The young pilot became a Prisoner of War.

Tiara Sawyers said "I was surprised that he got captured and sad".

During his days in captivity, the students never lost hope. Caitlyn said "We were just praying, and praying and praying, and you never know when a miracle was going to come".

That miracle happened over the weekend, when Iraqi troops released Young and six other American POW's.

Caitlyn said "I was like 'wow', it's too good to be true. Then I saw it, and I was like it is true". Rachel said "He's the only person that I know that's actually been in the war and been captured. It's real relieving that he's safe".

Now, the students are sending something different to Mr. Ron -- a special card and poster expressing their joy. Ms Allen plans to send the card and poster to the Young family, in Lithia Springs, Georgia. She's hoping that one day soon, Ronald Young will get to visit the Gulf Coast and meet his pen pals in person.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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