As coalition forces move in on Baghdad, anxiety mounts for one California newlywed as she waits for word on the status of her Marine husband.
“I’m very proud. I just want him to come home,” Stacey Wicklund told WorldNetDaily from her parents’ home in Anoka, Minn., where she has gone to wait out her husband’s deployment amid the comfort of both of their families.
Since the war began in Iraq, Wicklund has been glued to the television watching for a glimpse of her husband and to follow the activities of the 1st Marine Regiment, of which he is the headquarters company commander.
“I can’t stop watching it. I watch it every spare moment I can. I love having the media coverage, but it’s like torture sometimes,” Wicklund said. “My heart pounds all day long.”
Stacey and 1st Lt. Jon Wicklund in December 2002
Just days from his 30th birthday, 1st Lt. Jon Wicklund with the 1st Marine division, left Camp Pendleton, Calif., for the Gulf on Jan. 17, a mere three weeks after the couple’s wedding.
A dedicated member of the military for three years, he hails from a family that one could argue has made more than its fair share of sacrifice for its country. Wicklund’s father, Elroy, is a retired major in the Air Force and served in Vietnam as a navigator in the F-4 Phantom. His mother was a 1st lieutenant in the Air Force and a registered nurse. His younger brother, Chris, is a police officer. The youngest son in the Wicklund family is a 2nd lieutenant in the Army about to be deployed.
“Now I know what my mother went through when I was in Vietnam,” Elroy Wicklund remarked to his son Chris.
This time around, the Wicklund clan is benefiting from the proliferation of the Internet. Earlier this week, Stacey Wicklund received a half-dozen e-mails sent from her husband from undisclosed locations on the front lines.
“When I saw them I was like ‘Oh, my gosh!’” Stacey Wicklund told WND. “I was so excited. I never expected to get an e-mail.”
The first e-mail read (Note: WorldNetDaily has chosen to leave the contents of Wicklund’s e-mails largely unedited.):
Can you believe it they have internet out here in the field now. This is probably just a one shot deal but reply to me as soon as you can and maybe this will last for a while. I hope you are able to get this email.
First of all I just want you to know that I am safe out here and that there is not to much to worry about. I am mostly in the rear and will be safe baby. So don’t worry to much about me okay? Just want you to know that I love you more than anything in the whole wide world and that I can’t wait to
get back to you and hold you in my arms.
It’s starting to rain right now and the computers are outside. Will write again.
Love you so much
The Marine Corps Times reports the fighting picked up as Wicklund’s division pushed into the outskirts of Baghdad amid sporadic gunfire. The bodies of Iraqi soldiers, burning tank hulls and anti-aircraft guns littered their route.
Intelligence reports indicate non-Iraqi volunteers have formed impromptu military units and are hiding in the tree lines and taking sniper shots at the troops.
NBC News medical correspondent Bob Arnot, who is embedded with Wicklund’s regiment, reported last night the expeditionary force was approaching Baghdad as the temperature reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit. According to his MSNBC report, the thirsty Marines found cyanide and mustard agents in high concentrations in the Euphrates River during routine tests near Nasiriya. Commanders suspect the Iraqis were attempting to poison the U.S. troops.
Wicklund has witnessed the sheer brutality of the Iraqi regime firsthand, and in subsequent e-mails to his wife urged her to spread the word, tell everyone the “truth” about what was happening in Iraq. He was emphatic that the media portrayal of the troops’ progress was “wrong” and that the Marines are “taking care of business” in Iraq.
E-mail No. 2
Things are going okay for us out here. Don’t believe all the b——- in the press. We are kicking a– at every corner and everything will turn out okay. The only news we get is from the BBC–the british broadcasting corperation. Those brits are a snobby negitive bunch allright. Don’t know what the news agencies are saying back home about the war. Don’t really care to much at all anyway but i just want you to know the truth. We are fighting a bunch of militia–guys who are loyal to saddam and wear civilian clothes and all. A bad bunch of a——-. They execute civilians and all and they are not holding us back, but are more a pain in the a– then anything else.
Tell … that … is doing fine. It’s been a few days since I have seen him but he was doing very well when I saw him. Everyone here is in high spirits and want to get this thing over with and get home to our loved ones. But this will get over with sooner than later and we will be together again as it is meant to be. I wonder what time it is back home for you right now. I’m always very bad at figuring out the time difference thing and all.
E-mail No. 3
I can’t believe that we have this email in the field. It was a nice thing to get this set up so people could email back home. I hope you get these emails cause I think it would help to put a smile on your face the rest of the day that you got to email your husband on the front lines. The news is all full of crap so don’t believe to much of what you hear. Saddam and his s— heads are really bad people and the civilians get killed if they don’t help. We’ve had people raise white flags and pretend to surrender then open up on us. They use women and children as human shields. It’s horrible what these people have had to endure over the last 20 years. But we are here and we are going to take care business and we are smashing through resistance every step of they way. They are no match for us and we are killing these guys everyday.
Iraqi women and children wave white flags to surrender themselves near Umm Qasr.
Again don’t worry too much about me cause I’m in the rear and although it’s not 100% safe it’s as safe as it gets out here. So please don’t worry to much about me. I will be home in due time
and we can be a family again like we were in … . Wasn’t that fun with our life back there. I miss it a lot right now. I can’t wait to get another place out there and have what we had before I had to come over to this s——-. It’s a little greener than being in the desert of Kuwait that’s for sure but it’s still a very dusty and dirty place out here. … is right next to me emailing his wife. You should get a hold of her and call her or email her. Me and … run the whole show out here. I’m glad he’s out here with me. Don’t know where I’d be without him out here. I have some really good people
around here with me and I’m lucky to around such good people at a time like this.
Don’t know how long this email thing will last but I will take advantage of it as long as it is set-up. Just being able to get one email out to you makes my whole week. Letting you know that I am fine
and that we are all doing okay is what I wanted to let you know.
All the guys are doing well but we are curious as to what the press is saying back home about the whole war. I just wanted to let you know a little of the truth as to what is happening out here. Let me know how things are going for you. Let everyone know that I am fine and that we all are fine out here. There is a big line out here as you can expect and I have to go.
E-mail No. 4
Just wanted to let you know that I love you and that we are all fine. The press makes it out that we getting ambushed and are at a standstill. Get the word out that it is b——- cause we are killing these a——- by the hundreds, and they are no match for us at all. Be proud of us and we are all safe. We have had one Marine get shot in the ankle. His name is … and he is fine back in a hospital in the rear. Make sure his parents get that info. He will be okay. No one else in the company is injured or hurt or anything. Make sure you pass that through the key wives chain. We
are all allright. Let everyone know that. We are in high spritis and we have each others back out here and we are taking care of business the Marine way.
Love you and write me back as soon as you can because I just can’t wait to hear from you.
Marines escort Iraqi POWs in the desert on March 22.
E-mail No. 5
I’m not in any convoy that gets ambushed honey. I am safe. I cannot say where I am at but I am well north of that city that has all the fighting going on. The rear means behind all the infantry and tanks and everything. The infantry and tanks kill everything and we move through areas that are clear of any enemy. Please believe me when I say that I am safe. And we are winning this thing with overwhelming force. The media has it all wrong. We are killing these s——– by the hundreds. They are running in fear of us.
Marines assist a captured Iraqi POW in the desert on March 21.
I love you and you have to believe me when I say I am safe where I’m at and that I will come home to you. No one in Iraq can stop this regiment from going where it wants to go. The poor fighters are intimidating the locals through fear and we are breaking them down. The rear means in the middle of all the tanks and infantry and heavy weapons. I am in the safest part of the regiment. The rear does not mean the end of all the troops. I am north. We are fine. We are in high spirits and I love you so very much. Tell … that … is fine and that he loves her very much. He is in good spirits and handling everything well. I haven’t seen him in 3 days but he is fine. Going to read your other email and know I love you and I am safe. We all are doing good out here.
E-mail No. 6
I’m glad that everything is well for you. We are taking care of business out here. You can tell everyone that. We are the best at this and although we may stumble at times let everyone know we
are kicking the living s— out of these guys and leaving tons of these m———— dead along the way.
I’m glad the weather is warming up out there. I hate the cold weather.
Gotta run real quick. Tell everyone that the 1st Marine regiment is taking care of business and that they should send smokes (Marlboro Lights) and things to the boys out here. I love you and will write again very shortly. I have to take care of something really quick.
I love you baby, so much.
“I think these e-mails show that my brother cares more about taking care of his wife and troops then he does about himself – a pretty unselfish task considering the circumstances. But, that also is the job of a company commander,” Wicklund’s younger brother, Chris, told WND.
“Not once does he mention the dangers of the war,” he points out. “He does, however, mention the media in almost all of his e-mails. Wondering why the media is so wrong in their reporting of the war. His biggest worry, besides letting his wife know he was safe, was getting the word out that they were winning the war. It is quite a distraction to these young soldiers when they are being reported to be losing, when they are in fact doing an outstanding job at winning this war.”
There have been no e-mails since Monday, as the troops have pressed forward toward the final showdown in the Iraqi capital.
“It’s nerve racking,” Stacey Wicklund said. “There’s nothing I can do so I have to just deal with it and wait it out.”
Still, she feels lucky to have received any e-mails.
Chris Wicklund hopes they’ll serve as a wake-up call to Americans on the fence or opposed to the war to galvanize behind its brave youth.
“Regardless of the different views of this war, the troops must be supported. They are over there willing to give their lives for our country so we can be free. They volunteered for a career that they knew had a good chance of death,” he stresses. “War is not a pretty thing. Never was and will never be. But we must support these young men and women over their fighting for each and everyone of us. They are a lot braver than you and I.”