Local News

Family, Marines Await Word About Lejeune-Based POW In Iraq

Posted July 14, 2004

— Time may be running out for a hostage with ties to North Carolina.

A videotape shown on Arab television shows militants threatening to behead Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun. He is stationed at Camp Lejeune and was deployed to Iraq attached to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton.

Hassoun, 24, vanished from his unit in Iraq on June 19.

The military thought he had gone to Lebanon, where he was born.

Monday, Hassoun's father, who lives in Lebanon, begged insurgents to spare his son's life.

In Jacksonville, home to Camp Lejeune, emotions are running high.

"I think we should quit playing games and just go take them all out," Lance Cpl. Ted Daw said. "The longer we sit here and play with them, the longer they are going to take our troops."

Ron Young, a former Army pilot, said he has a difficult time watching Hassoun with his captors.

"It sends me back to the war zone, where I'm shaking and the adrenaline and everything," he said. "It's almost like I feel it's happening to me."

Young was held hostage for three weeks after his Apache helicopter was shot down in Iraq last year.

"Basically, we ran for our lives," he said. "As soon we got out of the aircraft, the Iraqis were already shooting at us."

Young said that as a prisoner of war, you learn to put fear aside and concentrate on keeping yourself alive.

"You're trying to make yourself mentally hardened," he said.

Young and the 17 other soldiers he was held captive with eventually were rescued by Marines.

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