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Troops’ Wives Report Elation Over Capture

December 15, 2003

Usually, when Staff Sgt. Joey Wommack calls his wife from Iraq after a mission, he sounds tired, as if he is about to collapse from exhaustion. This time, he told her he hadn’t slept in 48 hours, but his voice had no sign of fatigue.

``It was just like he had won the lottery or something,″ Kelly Wommack said Monday in a telephone interview from her Killeen, Texas, home.

The Fort Hood soldier, part of the 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, had just helped capture Saddam Hussein.

``He said it was just surreal,″ Kelly Wommack said. ``It wasn’t until the day after that it hit him that, `Oh, my God, we got him.‴

Saturday’s raid was carried out by 600 troops from the 4th Infantry Division and Special Forces soldiers. Special Forces pulled Saddam out of a hole in the ground near one of his former palaces.

Joey Wommack got a clear view of the bearded, disheveled Saddam through the scope on his rifle, his wife said.

``I was just ecstatic for him,″ she said. ``I don’t know how you can top your career. He’s on Cloud Nine.

``He was like, `We were just doing our job like we usually do.′ All the times they go out on raids, going from house to house for the longest time looking for things. Now, it’s like, `OK, we got him!‴

Kristi Pak, fiancee of Sgt. Daniel Saffeels, was sleeping in Sunday, resting up from final exams at Baylor University, when her telephone rang.

``He was like, ’Have you seen the news?‴ said Pak, 20. ``I was really in shock. It didn’t really sink in until I got off the phone.″

Pak said her fiance did not share a lot of details about the capture, but she could tell it boosted his morale and that of his fellow soldiers.

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