Thursday, January 8, 2004

Reservists off to Kuwait



By Cliff Radel
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Tyler Madden, 10, says goodbye to his mom, Naval Reserve Petty Officer Tanya Madden, who left Wednesday for Kuwait.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
EVANSTON - Fifteen members of Cargo 9 said their goodbyes Wednesday.

Fortified by hugs and kisses, the 15 sailors of the Naval Reserve's Cargo Handling Battalion 9 prepared to leave the Naval & Marine Corps Reserve Center in Evanston for duty in Kuwait.

For the next year, the sailors will move equipment from ships to troops fighting in Iraq.

A band played "This Is My Country" and sailors posed for family photos in front of a wall-size flag. Mothers wept. Dads wrapped arms around sons and daughters.

Desert Storm veteran Richard Perkins hugged his 90-year-old mother. The Colerain Township maintenance worker reminded her that she raised him to be a man of his word.

Petty Officer LaDante Gooden left the ground in his dad's arms.

"I'm losing feeling in my legs," joked the Mount Auburn man. "Don't squeeze so hard, I'll be back."

Ten-year-old Tyler Maddin buried his head in his mother's embrace and sobbed. His mom, Tanya Maddin, is leaving her job as a commercial analyst and their Newport home to be a petty officer in Kuwait. As she tried to comfort him, they wore matching fatigues and tear-stained faces.

Fifteen brass players from Anderson High School's marching band serenaded the troops and their families They played as a favor to Lt. Rick Wilson. He's Cargo 9's commanding officer and works with a band alumnus' mom.

When he's not in uniform, Wilson lives in Chardon, Ohio, and works as a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve Bank.

To mark the occasion, he bought roses for his troops and asked them to give them to their sweethearts. He gave one each to his wife, Lisa, and daughters, Caitlyn, 5, and Sarah, 9. Sarah took it upon herself to take tins of cookies from family to family.

Sarah's dad looked at his troops and made a vow:

"They're all coming back."

E-mail cradel@enquirer.com




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