Ex-Morgan student dies in copter crashA former Morgan...

PERSIAN GULF NOTEBOOK

January 21, 1991

Ex-Morgan student dies in copter crash

A former Morgan State University student has been killed in a non-combat crash of a helicopter in Saudi Arabia.

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Garland Hailey died Saturday, said family members who live in Baltimore.

The Blackhawk helicopter was carrying two patients, a medic and three crew members when it went down, family members said.

"An officer from Fort Meade said the helicopter had a malfunction. He didn't survive the injuries, they said. There were other people on board, and he was the only one not to survive," said Albert Booker Jr., Hailey's brother-in-law.

Hailey was a medical evacuation specialist, said his mother, Margaret Hailey, a nursing assistant at Mercy Hospital. If Jeronamo could talk, he'd have some fascinating war stories to tell.

But he's an 8-inch-long, fuzzy tan teddy bear, so he'll never be able to describe his peculiar vantage point for the first air raids over Baghdad, tucked into the cockpit map case of an F-117A Stealth fighter.

"I got it from a 34-year-old woman in mail addressed to Any Service Member," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Brad Bowers, crew chief for the Stealth fighter in which Jeronamo flies.

Jeronamo has been up with Stealth fighter No. 793, "Invisible Thunder," each time it's been out. Bowers said the plane's pilot thinks Jeronamo is "pretty neat" and considers the bear a good luck charm.

No surprise here:

Others may have been surprised that America's high-tech weaponry worked so well in the opening days of Operation Desert Storm.

But not Tom Clancy.

Several Pentagon generals interviewed on television have described the first three days of the war as a Tom Clancy novel brought to life.

Author of such best-selling techno-thrillers as "The Hunt for Red October" and "Red Storm Rising," in which U.S. weapons perform almost flawlessly, Clancy said he is not at all surprised at the way events have been going in the Mideast.

"Of course these weapons work," he said during a telephone interview from his home in southern Maryland. "Why do you think we've been spending all this money?"

First purple heart:

A Navy medic from Southern California will receive a Purple Heart for being wounded by Iraqi shrapnel, the first such decoration awarded during the war.

Clerence D. Conner, 19, was recovering after having a jagged piece of metal removed from his right shoulder, officials said yesterday.

"I'm damn proud of him," said Marine Brig. Gen. Thomas V. Draude.

Conner, of Hemet, Calif., was with a Marine unit near the Kuwaiti border when he was wounded after the war broke out Thursday. His unit was trading sporadic fire with Iraqi troops just across the border in Kuwait.

He will receive the award upon his return to the United States.

The Purple Heart is a U.S. military decoration awarded to soldiers wounded or killed in action during wartime. GIs in the Middle East can tune their portable radios to an instant taste of home -- rap music, the Los Angeles Lakers, the latest news -- thanks to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

With headquarters in a nondescript industrial area, the AFRTS beams uncensored news, sports and entertainment programming on radio and TV to more than 1.5 million U.S. military personnel around the world. In times of war, it becomes a crucial service -- sometimes the only English-language source of news troops have besides the official Department of Defense newspaper.

AFRTS programming used to be censored so that criticism of the military was not transmitted. But then-Defense Secretary Robert McNamara ordered the practice stopped in 1967 after it became an issue during the Vietnam War.

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