Loved Ones Await Soldiers' Homecoming - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/14/03

Loved Ones Await Soldiers' Homecoming

A T-shirt bearing her son's picture keeps him close to Kim Sincavage's heart. Kim last saw her 25-year old son Joe Whelchel in late February. He was about to ship out to Kuwait. By late March, Whelchel's 101st Airborne unit was in Iraq.

"They have cleared schools cause that's where a lot of the ammunition, and weapons, and that kinda stuff was stored. He had basically not even fired his weapon, and then we got a letter that told us, 'Well, I got shot at twice today,' and I'm like, son, that's information your mom doesn't need right now," she says.

But for weeks that's all the information Kim got. There was no e-mail, no mail, no phone calls. Kim says she clung to the old saying "no news is good news."

"I lost my dad in November, so I've been talkin' to him a lot tellin' him 'You better be over there watchin' your grandson' and just hangin' on to things like that even as silly as they sound."

On Mother's Day, Kim got the best gift possible, a call from Joe.

"He told me he was all right. He's dirty, he's tired, he's sore. They're working 12, 14, 16 hours seven days a week patrolling."

The war is winding down. Still, Kim says she worries more now about her son than when the fighting was at its peak.

"Cause I'm afraid they're startin' to let their guard down a little bit because there's so many fanatics over there. They can't tell who's the enemy and who's friendly."

That's why Kim anxiously waits to hear that her son's unit has received new orders, sending him to a safe location out of harm's way.

Kim says when her son's unit returns to Fort Campbell, Kentucky, she and her family will be there for a happy homecoming. Joe Whelchel is married with a four year old son.

byMarcia Hill

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