Local News

Intense Afghanistan Firefight Leads To Anxious Time Back Home

Posted January 28, 2003 11:37 a.m. EST

— U.S. military forces are engaged in the biggest gunbattle in nearly a year, a reminder that America is still at war in Afghanistan.

Two hundred troops from the 82nd Airborne and Special Forces are battling about 80 rebel fighters in the eastern mountains near the Pakistan border. At least 18 rebels have been killed, and no coalition casualties are reported.

The fighting was triggered by a small shootout nearby.

Though the firefight is happening thousands of miles away, it's too close to home for dozens of Fort Bragg families.

Gigi Warren was on the way to work when she heard her husband was in immediate danger as a participant in the biggest firefight since Operation Anaconda.

"I'm very nervous and upset," Warren said.

Her husband, Staff Sgt. Hayden Warren, has been in Afghanistan for two weeks.

"Just because they are not in the light as much as Iraq is, they are still in danger," Gigi Warren said.

She said staying busy at work is the best way not to worry.

Still, she's anxiously awaiting word from her husband that he's OK.

"You just can't shut it out," she said. "You just can't."

Gigi Warren is no longer in the military, but she was a soldier during Desert Storm. She said having that firsthand knowledge actually makes her situation tougher.

She remains an Army Reservist and remains concerned that she may be called up at anytime. If she and her husband are gone at the same time, her children will stay with family.

Warren relies on her co-workers for support. In uncertain times, they are a constant comfort.

One of those providing comfort is Terry Lawrence. Lawrence's husband is retired, but he was in the military for 22 years, and Lawrence knows how to keep Warren from being so anxious.

"Trying to work together, keep her mind occupied," Lawrence said, "because it's hard."

It's hard on Warren's children, too. She doesn't want to tell them too much.

The 42-year-old tries hard to keep herself and kids focused, so her husband can focus on doing his job.