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‘Am I Going to Die?’ Burned Girl Asks GI With AM-Air Show Bjt

August 30, 1988

FRANKFURT, West Germany (AP) _ A burned and terrified German girl, not yet in her teens, asked of the American soldiers holding her, ″Am I going to die? Am I going to die?″

″I just can’t get that face out of my mind,″ one of them said later.

A young airman said God helped him save injured people after the crash Sunday at the Ramstein air show. A woman told of the anguish she felt when her husband was assigned to retrieve the remains of victims.

The unofficial U.S. military newspaper Stars and Stripes published an account Tuesday of moving stories told at ″grief clinic″ that was closed to other news media. City Editor Betty Luman said a reporter from the newspaper attended the clinic on the condition that the participants not be identified.

″One of the tech sergeants from my squadron was holding a 10-to 12-year- old German girl,″ a soldier said. ″She was burned, but I couldn’t tell how bad.

″She just kept looking at me asking ‘Am I going to die? Am I going to die?’ And I couldn’t tell her one way or the other, so I just kept looking at her and saying: ‘You’re all right. You’ll be fine.’ And she kept screaming for her mom. And I just can’t get that face out of my mind.″

A 21-year-old airman said: ″I was actually putting my hands inside their backs and sides to keep their veins shut. I think God put my feeling aside so that I could get in there and help.″

Tears welled in a woman’s eyes as she told of her husband’s assignment to collect the remains.

″I knew he had to talk about it,″ she said. ″I didn’t want to talk about it, but I knew I had to. I’m here for me, but I’m here for him, too.″

1st Lt. Alan Sattler, a spokesman for the U.S. Air Base at Ramstein, told The Associated Press the general news media were not invited to the session Monday because, ″after all, this was aimed at healing the people involved.″ Stars and Stripes said the meeting of eight survivors with mental health experts was the first of several the Air Force is sponsoring to help people deal with the tragedy.

Its report said: ″Survivors spoke of experiencing depression, lack of sleep, loss of appetite, decreasing interest in things they usually do, guilt and recurring visions. And they cried.″

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