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Pa. man survives Mosul explosion

December 24, 2004|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

GREENCASTLE, PA - A soldier from Greencastle was eating lunch 50 feet from the center of a suicide bomb blast that killed 13 GIs, five American civilian workers and wounded 69 other people in a dining hall tent in Iraq Tuesday, according to his wife.

Staff Sgt. George Weber, 38, suffered hearing loss in the explosion, his wife, Tammy Weber, 36, said Thursday.

She said she learned of the blast before she received word from her husband by e-mail telling her he was OK. The couple communicates by e-mail.

Tammy Weber said her father called Tuesday morning to tell her of the suicide bomb attack and that "a bunch of people had been killed in Mosul." She knew her husband was in the area.

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She said she was nervous all day, but figured that with 150,000 America soldiers in Iraq, "what were the chances" that he would be hurt or worse.

"I e-mailed him and said I hope you're OK," she said. Staff Sgt. Weber e-mailed his wife back at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday to tell her he had suffered some hearing loss, but was otherwise all right.

He was having lunch with two other soldiers when the bomb went off, he told his wife.

The two people next to him suffered minor head wounds, he told his wife, and said he helped one soldier who was hit in the back. He wrapped a shirt around the wounds, led other wounded to medics and led medics to wounded who couldn't walk, he said.

He said he had someone else's burnt skin on his hands. "It wasn't a pretty sight," Tammy Weber said. "He was very emotional and said he didn't want to talk about it. I knew he was really stressed out. Now he's got to deal with it."

He e-mailed her again shortly after midnight Thursday, but didn't talk about the incident much, she said.

Staff Sgt. Weber is a fuel truck driver on temporary assignment in Iraq with the 283rd Trucking Co. from Fort Devens, Mass. He was assigned to the 309th Transportation Co., an Army Reserve unit in Greencastle, until his Iraqi assignment. "They pulled people from other units," she said.

He has been in Iraq since Feb. 24 and is due to come home in February, Tammy Weber said.

"Something tells me he'll be bumped back," she said.

Her husband was stationed stateside for a year before he was sent to Iraq. She last saw him on Jan. 24, Tammy Weber said.

"It's been a difficult two years," she said.

She asked that people pray that her husband stays safe.

The couple met at Lancaster Bible College in Lancaster, Pa., she said. They have three children, Kadee, 17; Leah, 15; and Sara, 5.

Tammy Weber said hers is a military family. Her husband spent 10 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, stayed out for five years then joined the Army Reserves.

He has two brothers in the military. One just returned from Afghanistan and the other is scheduled for duty in Kosovo, she said.

"My own parents were military. That's where they met," she said. Being a military family they support the cause that America is fighting for in Iraq, she said.

What Americans see in newspapers and television is not always like it is over there, Tammy Weber said. "There's a different picture," she said.

Her husband sent pictures of life in Iraq that show the support of the people for what America is doing there.

"They have nice cars, nice hotels, children are in school. It looks like a normal city," she said.

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