Family Says Missing Weapons Officer ’100 Percent American’
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) _ Capt. Paul F. Lorence, weapons officer on the fighter-bomber that vanished during the raid on Libya, was ″100 percent American,″ his stepfather said Tuesday.
Lorence, 31, and the pilot, Capt. Fernando L. Ribas-Dominici, 33, of Puerto Rico, disappeared Monday during a raid on several targets in Libya. Government officials said a search was being conducted for wreckage of their Air Force F- 111 plane and for the crew in the waters off that African nation.
″All of us are immensely proud of him,″ said Richard J. Kruger, Lorence’s stepfather. ″He’s certainly 100 percent American. We hope for his safe return.″
″He is a very kind human being,″ said his mother, Bernice Kruger, 58, adding that the family supports U.S. actions in Libya.
Kruger said Lorence’s love of flying was a family affair: he, Mrs. Kruger, Lorence’s ship captain father and grandfather all were fliers, the grandfather as as member of the Royal Air Force in World War I.
Dorothy Cartwright of San Francisco, who has known the Lorence family for 23 years, said, ″I feel very sad. I’ve known him since he was a little boy.″
He was a ″very, very fine, outstanding young man,″ she said.
She said Lorence, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay area and attended San Francisco State University, was married and that he and his wife, Dianne, had a son, who was born last summer.
The three lived in England where Lorence was assigned to the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing at the Royal Air Force Base at Lakenheath.
Ribas-Dominicci’s brother, Jose Ribas-Dominicci, said in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ″We are waiting on any word from Washington and hoping he is still alive. All we want is that he is safe. All of his friends and family are praying for his safety.″
The Ribas-Dominicci brothers are from Utuado, a mountain town of 35,000 people about 40 miles from San Juan, and four other children still live at home.
Their parents, Jose and Teresa Ribas, own a furniture store in the town. They declined to be interviewed.