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Capturing Saddam

Hagerstown soldier was at the scene

Hagerstown soldier was at the scene

January 03, 2004|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

While a Hagerstown couple said they are nervous about having their son in the Army during wartime, they are quite proud to be able to tell everyone that he was at the scene of the capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

U.S. Army Spc. Roy O. Poper IV, 21, was involved in the Jan. 14 capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, a military spokesman said this week.

Poper is a 2000 graduate of North Hagerstown High School.

Poper's family said they were not sure exactly how close Poper was to Hussein when he was captured.

But his father, Roy Poper III, said his son told him he was one of about 120 people at the scene of the capture and he was close enough to see Hussein.

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"Poper is a scout for G Troop, 1st Battalion, 10th Cavalry Regiment, which provided close cordon support for the personnel who took Saddam into custody," Ron Holbrook, a public affairs specialist in the Office of Strategic Communications for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, said Monday.

Robert Cargie, an Army master sergeant with the 4th Infantry Division, confirmed that Poper is in the division.

Poper, a third-generation Army member serving with the 4th Infantry Division near Tikrit, Iraq, could not be reached for comment Monday or Tuesday.

His father said his son called him the day after the capture to tell him the news. The parents did what parents do best: They bragged to friends and coworkers, telling about their son's participation in the historic capture of Hussein.

"When we found out, I called everyone I knew," Roy Poper III said.

Some friends and relatives have sent his son congratulations cards, he said.

The soldier's mother said it is special knowing he was involved in a part of history.

While Poper is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, his family lives in Hagerstown.

Before high school graduation, he signed up for a four-year stint. He was sent to Iraq in February 2003.

Since he joined the Army during peacetime, his father said he had conflicted emotions about his son being in the Army during a war.

"I felt proud and scared at the same time. I never dreamed he would be in a war," Roy Poper III said.

After finishing his four years with the Army, Poper plans to attend the University of Maryland, seeking a degree so he can become a high school history teacher, Roy Poper III said.

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