Phyllis Parsons often avoids watching television news or even reading newspapers. With three sons serving in Iraq, she knows that when there is a big operation; like the one currently in the city of Baqouba, usually one of her sons is involved. This week has been especially difficult for Phyllis and her family.
In the Associated Press Tuesday, her eldest son, Capt. Huber Parsons III described how members of a Stryker brigade from Fort Lewis fought in the city 35 miles northeast of Baghdad: "Al-Qaida had months and months to run rampant because we didn't have the forces available to come in here until now," Parsons said. "They controlled this neighborhood, but they don't anymore."
For a mother it is chilling to read descriptions like, "insurgents fired mortars and popped out of windows with rocket launchers... tanks and infantry blasted at buildings, killing more than a dozen attackers... at one stage Parsons moved three of his platoons on foot. All three came under fire. The day ended with a 30-minute firefight at dusk in which rounds ripped through palm groves."
April 7 on "Weekend Nightly News," Correspondent George Lewis told the story of the Parsons family that we called "Brothers in Arms." [Video link] On Thursday I received an e-mail from Huber R. Parsons Jr., the family patriarch. It was chilling for me to read and I asked him if I could share excerpts with you.
Subject: CPT Huber Parsons III a Casualty but Alive
Huber's Stryker was hit earlier today by a deep buried IED... Huber has a broken right leg and right ankle. All other personnel in the Stryker were injured but none, thankfully, as seriously as Huber. He can feel his toes and wiggle them. Praise God.
Huber has now had surgery on the leg... the docs, nurses and other medical personnel have been great. His brothers are getting a helo ride to go up to see him. Huber will be flown to Germany... where he will spend some days. Thereafter, he will be flown to the USA.
When Huber called, I immediately told him that we are so joyful he in alive. He said "I am, too."
Huber's Company has now had 7 KIA this week; and it has had 5 of its Strykers destroyed...
Angela is shaken but OK. Phyllis is shaken but OK.
We are but man and only know in part. But we know we have a great God and give Him praise in all things. Yes, even this. We especially praise Him that Huber is alive and that he can feel and wiggle his toes. Huber has really ugly and probably these days really dirty toes... but they have never, never looked so beautiful as today.
Huber R. Parsons Jr.
I know I will pray for the Parsons family, an incredibly strong, compassionate family who are concerned above all with the well being of others. I spoke to the younger twin sister Christine Thursday night who told me "He (Huber) is going to be OK."