With song, tribute and a human chain, city residents will honor Carroll's participants in the Persian Gulf war during an April 7 rally ofsupport and thanks.

The main event is set for 2 to 4 p.m. at the City Playground off Longwell Avenue. The program begins at 1:30 p.m. with music.

"We felt that this is the least we can do," said Westminster resident Bobbi Utz, who, along with her husband, Kevin, came up with the idea and is organizing the rally.

"Whether you think the war was right or wrong, the troops and their families need to be recognized for all they have given," she said.

The rally is intended as a signof thanks for troops who have come home and a show of support for those who still are in the Middle East, Utz said.

The program will include a welcoming speech by Mayor W. Benjamin Brown and performancesby a variety of musical groups.

Members of the military who are home and who attend the rally will be introduced to the crowd. Utz asked that troops who are home or their family members contact her at 876-8486 so they can be recognized at the rally.

The highlight of the rally will occur when members of the crowd join hands to form a "human chain" stretching across the park and sing "God Bless America."

Several civic groups will be on hand selling food and beverages, and T-shirts and hand-held U.S. flags also will be on sale.


HAMPSTEAD -- Engineering Assistant Specialist Gary C. Zahn was glad when the war in the Persian Gulf finally started Jan. 16.

"We knew the sooner it started, the sooner we could go home," said Zahn, 21, a member of the U.S. Air Force's 1st Civil Engineering Squadron.

Less than nine weeks after war was declared, Zahn was back home with his parents, Gary C. and Josefina Zahn, and wife, Sharon, and sons, Christian, 2, and Joshua, 11 months.

He was deployed in mid-August to Saudi Arabia, where he was a draftsman for his unit.

"We were a support group," he explained. "We built the tent citiesand got places ready for people to stay. I was with the unit that drew up maps of what was going to be built."

For about the first three months, Zahn was busy designing and building those facilities, which included hangars and other equipment buildings.

"Then it got pretty boring for a while," he said. "After the war started, we went into a wartime mode."

The squadron was divided into different units for such things as damage assessment and repair and worked 12 to 15 hour days.

Fortunately, at least for Zahn's unit, there were no major bomb hits or damage to the facilities.

Zahn is on leave until April 8, when he returns to his home base, Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Va. Then, he said, he has two more years to serve.



Designed, built troop facilities


UNION BRIDGE -- Marine Sgt. James G. Hill Jr., wounded in the kneecap by a mine in the Persian Gulf War, made a brief visit to his family March 17.

Hill was flown to a hospital in Germany before being sent to another hospital near AndrewsAir Force Base.

After being allowed to visit his parents, Mr. andMrs. James G. Hill Sr., and other family members, he was sent to Camp Pendleton, Calif.

The Marine is a 1980 graduate of Francis ScottKey High School.


Mark Clingan wasn't expecting to be called to war.

A sophomore at American University in Washington, he was shocked when his unit, the 4th Civil Affairs Group of the Marine Corps reserves, was called up in November.

And while inSaudi Arabia, his unit was responsible for handling enemy prisoners of war. In one three-day period after the ground campaign began, Clingan said, 12,000 to 15,000 Iraqi prisoners overwhelmed the unit.

The 20-year-old lance corporal described the Iraqi prisoners as scared, some cooperative and others uncooperative, wanting water and cigarettes and being poorly dressed.

He told of getting lost in the desert one night with his unit, who finally stopped and dug fox holes to escape the enemy fire.

Later the group found out they had been in a mine field.

Clingan came home March 15 on emergency leave, whilethe rest of his unit remains in Saudi Arabia. His first days home were spent with his family, parents Robert and Bonnie Clingan of Coon Club Road, and his grandfather, who is ill.

"It's great to be back," he said.

He also visited American University to see his friends and hopes to continue his education in the fall.

"I'm an international relations and history major," Clingan said. "I want to see if I can do a dual major."



Handled enemy prisoners of war


WESTMINSTER -- After almost 15 months of serving his country without leave to see his family, seven of those months in a war zone, Marine Cpl. Kenneth Andrew Day finally returned home March 15.

And when he did get home, he continued to do what the Marines trained him in so well: following orders. He spent much of the day with his grandparents, Samueland Tresse Acree, helping them get their groceries in and doing other everyday chores around the house.

The son of Kenneth C. and AnneDay, the 22-year-old soldier is an armorer with the 1st Battalion ofthe 5th Marine Regiment, stationed out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

He spent seven months and one day in Saudi Arabia, "inspecting and repairing weapons. We made sure the weapons were ready and safe for thefront line men," he said.

Day was pleased with the war's outcome.

"Not a lot of Americans got killed," he noted. "We were incredibly lucky. Things went real well for the coalition forces."

Still, when the war was declared over, Day said the soldiers were "excited, but cautious. We weren't sure what to believe because things changed so fast over there."

His unit, however, was the third Marine battalion to come home.

Day is on leave until April 3, when he returns to California.



Spent seven months in gulf


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