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Slain Airman Wrote Several Letters To Family Before Ambush With PM-Philippines

October 30, 1987

HOUSTON (AP) _ Letters from an airman stationed in the Philippines arrived home as his family received news that he had died in an ambush in which two other soldiers and a Filipino businessman also were killed.

″We haven’t seen him in two years,″ Joanne Earls, mother of Airman 1st Class Steven M. Faust, said Thursday. ″I don’t know if I’ll ever open my letter. But I’m not opening it today. I’m trying to be so tough about all this.″

Faust, 22, died Wednesday of gunshot wounds to the neck and arms in an ambush carried out by suspected Philippine communist rebels.

Faust was posted at Clark Air Base, 50 miles north of Manila, and would have returned to the United States in August had his posting not been extended for six months, Ms. Earls said. Faust handled military police dogs at the base.

″He planned to be a policeman when he got out of the service,″ she said. ″He just had all these plans. He had his life planned after all these years.″

Ms. Earls said she encouraged her son to join the Air Force.

Faust’s 18-year-old brother, Jeffrey, said Steven also sent him a letter ″saying that he loved me and didn’t want anything to happen to me.″

Ms. Earls said her son’s widow, Terri, plans to stay with the family while a civilian ceremony and military burial at Houston National Cemetery are planned. A memorial service was held Friday afternoon, Philippine time, at Clark Air Base, said base spokeswoman Capt. Mary Ellen Jadick.

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