Friday, April 18, 2003

Marines lift
wives’ spirits with
calls from Kuwait

'I love you' is the main message
during morale-boosting calls

By Helen Altonn

Tiara Enocencio-Zimmerman and her husband, Cpl. Nathan Daniel Zimmerman, have learned to say "I love you; I miss you," the first thing when he calls from Kuwait.

"Our calls are very limited in time and a lot of times it gets cut off, and I didn't say that and I get scared," she said. "It's so important that they know that."

So those were her first words when she received an unexpected "morale call" from her husband of 10 months yesterday.

It was the first call in three weeks, she said. He's been able to call her about 10 times since he was deployed Feb. 9 with the Marine Corps' First Radio Battalion, she said.

She said her husband didn't know when he'd be coming home.

He told her last night the situation there is so much better than it was before because of the liberation and the regime.

"Still, he's just really sick and tired of that place, Kuwait," she said. "He says, 'I want to come home to you and as soon as I get home I just want to cuddle and sleep.'

"We just need to lock ourselves up in a room," she said with a laugh.

The couple had weddings in Honolulu and in Olympia, Wash., where his family lives, Enocencio-Zimmerman said. When he returns, she plans a big luau with her family in Hilo.

Meanwhile, she sends her husband letters and gifts at least three times a week, including "a whole bunch of goodies, an Easter basket with all his favorite candies. It might melt, but I don't care."

Lucy Rohn's husband, Gunnery Sgt. Gerald Rohn, called at 4:30 a.m. yesterday. "I figured at 4:30 a.m. it's bad news or good news, so I answered the phone."

But a lot of wives slept through the calls, she said. "It's so sad."

Rohn is the "key volunteer" who acts as liaison for wives of the 4th Force Reconnaissance Marines. She relays information to them and tries to help them with problems.

A total of 67 Marines were deployed from the 4th Force, 32 from Hawaii and 35 from a detachment out of Reno, Nev., according to a Marine spokesman.

Rohn said she hadn't had a call from her husband since before the war started, although she communicated via e-mail. "I pretty much got information from the main command in California," she said.

Some Marines also took cell phones with them and would call their wives and let them know the men were okay, she said.

"The last thing we were thinking of were cell phones," she said, adding that it was "awesome" that some people did think of them.

The Rohns, married eight years, have two children, Korissa, 10, and Jared, 6. They were sleeping when he called. She told them "he wanted me to give them a hug and kiss for him."

She said her husband told her the Iraqis are welcoming the Marines, who are north of Baghdad.

"They're just trying to police the area now, not to stop looters or anything, but just trying to keep the peace."

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