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Freed U.S. Crew Member Proposes

April 12, 2001

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ One of the 24 Americans detained in China for 11 days lost no time mapping out his future after the deal was reached to free them: He proposed to his girlfriend.

Technician 1st Class Josef Edmunds of California telephoned Sandra White in Texas on Wednesday with the proposal, which was accepted, according to Fort Worth television station KTVT.

White, who took the phone call at her suburban Fort Worth home, says she plans to see her fiance as soon as she can get to Hawaii.

The crew members headed to Honolulu on Thursday after a stopover in Guam. They were expected to stay in Hawaii for two days of military interviews and briefings before a homecoming celebration planned for Saturday at Whidbey Island, Wash., their home base.

Edmunds, from Davis, Calif., said in the phone call to White’s home that he and his fellow crew members were thankful for the support from back home.

``We’re very happy, too _ very excited to be back,″ Edmunds said. ``Thank you guys and thank everyone for their hopes and prayers.″

White said she spent the 12 days of the 24 crew members’ detention monitoring news reports for clues to an impending release. But the more time that passed, the more fearful she grew.

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