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Pope Airmen Await Other Troops in the Persian Gulf

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POPE AIR FORCE BASE — Thousands of American troops are heading to Kuwait, As tensions heighten in the Persian Gulf 3,000 ground troops could soon ship out to join airmen from Pope Air Force Base who are already there on a routine mission.

About 400 airmen from Pope are still in the Gulf enforcing the no-fly zone. They've been in and out of the area for four years, but for family members left behind, there is an uneasy feeling that their loved ones could soon be a part of an attack on Iraq.

Amy Byrd's husband has been in Kuwait for about 30 days. She says her husband, Senior Airman Brian Byrd, has expressed some concern about Saddam Hussein.

The United States has given Saddam until February 17th to comply with UN resolutions or risk a military attack. Retired Air Force General Robert Springer believes that attack will happen shortly after the Olympics. He thinks airmen in the 74th Fighter Squadron and 2nd Airlift Squadron who are already in the Persian Gulf, are unofficially preparing to do battle.

Byrd's husband is one of those airmen. She talks with him daily through email. They both support a military strike if a diplomatic solution cannot be reached, but that doesn't make this time any easier for her.

Byrd says she trusts her husband and knows he is well trained, but she doesn't trust Saddam Hussein. She says she tries to keep her mind off things by taking care of her children and taking part in a Pope support group.