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Missing Airmen Include Vet of 29 Years in Marine Corps With AM-Gulf-US Casualties-List

January 20, 1991

Undated (AP) _ The U.S. airmen reported missing in the Persian Gulf include a veteran of 29 years in the Marine Corps who served four tours in Vietnam, and he may have been one of several purported prisoners interviewed on Iraqi television.

Chief Warrant Officer Guy Hunter, 46, had told his wife, Mary, by telephone earlier that he had received a Navy Commendation Medal in the Persian Gulf, but he refused to say how he had earned it.

″He was very concerned about the money and my decisions, and the children, their well-being and where they were going to be raised,″ she said.

Mrs. Hunter said she was told her husband was missing Friday by three Marine officers who appeared at her door.

″I felt like somebody stuck a dagger into my heart,″ she said. ″I just wish I knew if he was alive or dead. ... I just want him back.″

Hunter and Lt. Col. Clifford Acree, 39, both based at Camp Pendleton in southern California, were flying a Marine OV-10 Bronco, a turboprop observation plane that supports other combat aircraft, authorities said Sunday.

Mrs. Hunter said her husband was the observation officer on the OV-10 and Acree was the pilot. It was Hunter’s first combat mission in Operation Desert Storm, she said.

The Acree home in Oceanside could not be reached by telephone Sunday.

Also missing were Col. David W. Eberly, 43; Maj. Thomas E. Griffith, 34; Air Force Maj. Donnie R. Holland, 42, Bastrop, La.; Air Force Maj. Thomas F. Koritz, 37, Rochelle, Ill.; Capt. Harry M. Roberts, 30; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Michael Scott Speicher, 33, Jacksonville, Fla.; Maj. Jeffrey Scott Tice, 35; Navy Lt. Charlie Turner, 29; Navy Lt. Robert Wetzel, 30, Virginia Beach, Va.; and Navy Lt. Jeffrey N. Zaun, 28, Cherry Hill, N.J.

The official Iraqi News Agency said Sunday that Baghdad television had broadcast interviews with several men it claimed were captured allied pilots, including Americans, an Italian, a Kuwaiti and a British flyer.

Two names released by the INA were Lt. Jeffry Morton Zoon, 27, of Attack Squadron 30 and Marine pilot K. Hunter, 46. That appeared to correspond to Hunter and Zaun.

Asked her reaction to that Iraqi report, Mrs. Hunter said Sunday: ″I was told I shouldn’t believe everything I hear on the radio or on the television, although that makes me feel very good. But until I get told by the military I can’t get my hopes up real high, even though I have.″

CNN’s Peter Arnett, reporting Sunday night from Baghdad, said he had seen the broadcast interviews, and that one of the men identified himself as Acree.

″The manner of all the men was subdued. One’s conversation was barely audible. One man had a bandaged hand, and two others had bruised faces,″ Arnett said.

Arnett said the man who identified as Hunter said he thought ″ ’the war is crazy‴ and that ‴I condemn the aggression against peaceful Iraq.‴ He said the man identified as Zoon told an interviewer: ‴I think our leaders have wrongly attacked the peaceful people of Iraq.‴ There was no way of knowing if they were being forced to make those responses.

Turner’s family in Minneapolis was told that he was missing Saturday, Turner’s mother, Helene, said Sunday. Turner was a bombardier-navigator on a Navy A-6 bomber that was shot down over Kuwait on Friday, WCCO-TV reported.

″We are very proud of him and what he stands for. We are praying for him and his pilot’s safety, and we are not giving any more information for fear that there is a chance that it could harm him in whatever situation he is in,″ Mrs. Turner said.

Turner is married and has a 6-month-old son, his mother said.

The town of Rochelle in northern Illinois, meanwhile, is hoping for good news after Air Force Maj. Thomas Koritz, a surgeon, pilot and father of three, disappeared Thursday while piloting a F-15E aircraft in a bombing mission over Iraq, his family was told.

In Rochelle, Ill., about 65 miles west of Chicago, Koritz was something of a local legend - a high school football hero who grew up to become one of only five Air Force surgeons who also are pilots.

″We’ve all been glued to our television sets, fascinated by the technology, excited by the drama,″ said the family pastor, Charles Denison said. ″Suddenly our reactions changed. Suddenly this was a real war that might have cost a brilliant, young man who has a wife and three sons.

″That touched home so hard. As a community, we’re in pain.″

The pilot’s parents, Dr. Thomas and Mary Koritz, flew to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C., where their son’s wife and three sons, ages 8, 6 and 4, have been living.

Holland was weapon system officer on Koritz’s plane. His family in Bastrop, La., learned Thursday night that he was missing.

On Sunday, city officials and religious leaders in Bastrop dedicated a monument inscribed with the names of 123 area residents who died in World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam.

″It’s very ironic that this would be taking place at this time,″ Mike Ray, education minister at First Baptist Church in Bastrop, said before the ceremony. ″This has been planned for some time. They’ve been working on the monument for about a year and a half.″

Holland’s parents, Doug and Christine, stayed close to the phone Sunday, said Harold Holland, one of the officer’s brothers. They sent a note to First Baptist, thanking fellow church members for their support, he said.

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