Local News

News Of Hassoun's Release Provides Emotional Lift At Camp Lejeune

Posted July 7, 2004

— Marine Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun was abducted by terrorists last month. News of the his release is the latest twist in a rollercoaster of emotions at Camp Lejeune.

In the military town of Jacksonville, there are signs of support for the troops on every corner.

"Anything that happens to our Marines, we're concerned about," said Jacksonville resident Edison Batchelor.

Word that terrorists captured Hassoun and threatened to behead him hit this community hard. Last weekend, several Web sites reported he had been killed.

Tuesday, the news and the mood was much better.

"I think it lifts the concern, you know, a lot," Batchelor said.

News of Hassoun's release reached Camp Lejeune just as several hundred other Marines were loading the last of their gear and heading to Iraq themselves. Many of those Marines said the news boosted their morale.

"To have that Marine released safely is an awesome deal," said Sgt. Ken Barnes. "We need to pull him back in, get some info from him and then just welcome him home. He's got to be a happy man."

While that news was good, loved ones left behind here know Iraq remained a dangerous place.

"We're happy that he made it out safely," Marine wife Leah Serratos said. "You know, they just really have to be careful. I mean. they're in an environment where anything can happen. That's the chance we all take when we go over there."

The

New York Times

reported that Hassoun was traumatized when his sergeant died in a bombing and that Hassoun was trying to get to Lebanon when he was captured. Hassoun's family denied that report.

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