Local News

Sanford Technical Representative Waits To Hear From Deployed Son

Posted March 25, 2003 10:11 a.m. EST

— Americans involved in combat in Iraq do not have the luxury of instant communication with their families. If they get a chance, they will take it. That call back to the states is one war story that impacts people on the homefront.

When the phone rings, Gerard Mullen jumps. He takes hundreds of phone calls a day as a technical representative for a Sanford-based swimming pool company, but he hopes to hear from his son, Chris.

Sgt. Chris Mullen is with the 2nd tank battalion from Camp Lejeune. After an interview with CBS' John Roberts Friday, Chris used Roberts' satellite phone to call home. He called his mother in California.

"He just basically called and said, 'Let everyone know everything's OK. I'm all right.' That was before Nasiryan," Mullen said.

Nasiryan is where the Marine 2nd battalion reported heavy enemy resistance. For the father of a son in the war against Saddam Hussein, the news can be agonizingly slow.

"A matter of fact, we just received the first letter because it took a month for the mail to get to us," Mullen said. "No news in this case is good news, unless it's a letter, of course, from him."

Gerard Mullen said he is wearing his son's dog tags and he told his son that he was going to keep them.

"You can have it back when you get home. Till then, it's mine," he said.

Mullen has been in the Marine Corps for 5.5 years now and this is not his first deployment. He has already been in Bosnia and Jordan.