For the Llewellyns, the goal is time at Big Bear Lake WAR IN THE GULF


March 03, 1991|By Thom Loverro | Thom Loverro,Western Maryland Bureau of The Sun

FROSTBURG -- Call it Operation Big Bear Lake. The objective: peace and quiet for the Llewellyn family from the turmoil of the Persian Gulf conflict that has consumed most of their thoughts since Sgt. 1st Class Gary F. Llewellyn left in November for the Middle East.

For Rose M. Llewellyn, Sergeant Llewellyn's wife, the family's annual summer retreat to their West Virginia lake campground looks as if it will come to pass.

She has not been allowed the luxury of such pleasant plans since Sergeant Llewellyn, 43, a Frostburg police officer, arrived in Saudi Arabia four months ago with the 372nd Military Police Company, U.S. Army Reserves, headquartered in Cresaptown in Allegany County.

"It's been up and down for me the past few weeks," said Mrs. Llewellyn, 46. "One time we turn on the TV and everything is fine; then you hear about [Saddam] Hussein doing something stupid."

Mrs. Llewellyn heard from her husband by phone Monday "righ after the Scud missile hit Saudi Arabia -- that's why he called, to let us know he was OK."

It has been a long time since Mrs. Llewellyn has felt so good. In December interview, she told how painful it had been to spend the holiday season without her husband.

"We sent him a videotape of the Christmas party we had with th other families from the company," she said. "The day the air war started, I got a letter from him saying that he got to spend Christmas with his family, thanks to the tape. That letter hit me pretty hard."

The tension turned up a few notches when the ground wa started. Her older daughter, Bobbie Railey, 23, heard the news from her husband and came running to Mrs. Llewellyn's house with her baby in her arms. Cousins and other family and friends arrived or called to help the Llewellyns through the first anxious hours of the fighting.

Mrs. Llewellyn quit her job after her husband left to make sur she was home when 12-year-old Cathie, her youngest daughter, came home from school. She has spent her time taking care of the house, which is decorated with yellow ribbons and banners, or family business or thinking -- about what her husband has been doing, about when he would be coming home, about Big Bear Lake.

"It's a nice quiet place to go," she said. "And it will be even mor peaceful this time around. Gary has already said when he gets back he wants to go there for a week and just hibernate, not see anyone except his family."

And the only battle he'll have to worry about is the fish on th end of a line.

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