SYKESVILLE — As he did when the war started, Marine Neil Forthman called home just hours after President George Bush announced a cease-fire in the Persian Gulf last week.
The 20-year-old called his mother at home, his father at work and his grandmother last Friday morning to let them know he was all right.
His parents said it was a relief to be able to hear from their son as frequently as they have -- 10 times since he was deployed to theGulf Dec. 26.
A combat engineer with the 2nd Marine Division, Forthman told his parents his unit was lucky, with only two injuries incurred as they were clearing a mine field in Kuwait.
One Marine wasburned and another hit with shrapnel, but both are expected to be out of the hospital this week.
The senior Forthman said his son either resupplied or desupplied his unit as it moved into Kuwait City.
News that he would be moving back into Kuwait soon has her worried, Sharon Forthman said, although the Marine, nicknamed "Bub," said living conditions had improved for the military.
One thing that did upset the younger Forthman was the condition of the captured Iraqi troops, which he said was pitiful, especially their lack of proper clothing.
He described Kuwait as an upside down junkyard.
The Marine told his parents he hopes to be home by his birthday, May 19, or at least for his girlfriend's senior prom and graduation.
VOLUNTEER TRIP CANCELED
Bevann Garnes was "literally waiting on the runway" to leave for Saudi Arabia a week ago when the Persian Gulf war cease-fire was declared, ending her aspirations for a yearlong volunteer servicewith the Red Cross.
"We waited two days, then were put on standby," said Garnes, formerly of Westminster.
The 45-year-old woman hadvolunteered to serve with the Red Cross as an assistant station manager in Saudi Arabia for one year or the duration of the war.
She spent two weeks in Texas during February in intensive training, including the use of gas masks and uniforms, to prepare for the position.
She returned from Texas to Westminster briefly, only to have the trip and position canceled when President George Bush declared a cease-fire.
Garnes isn't expecting to be going to Saudi Arabia at all, and Red Cross officials said the contract for the stations ended with the war.
For now, Garnes is staying with friends in North Linthicum, Anne Arundel County, and is job hunting and trying to get on with her life, she said.
DISCUSSION OF GULF WAR
WESTMINSTER -- "Teach-In: Perspectives on War and Culture," a discussion by four Western Maryland College educators and a local peace activist on the aftermath of the war in the Persian Gulf, is set for 7 p.m. Thursday in McDanielLounge.
This event is free and open to the public; interested people are encouraged to come early to ensure themselves a seat.
The discussion was organized by the Coalition for Peace and Justice, a campus activist group comprised of students and educators.
Participants and their topics include:
* Norberto Valdez, instructor in sociology, speaking on "Us and Them -- The Enemy is Our Mirror."
* Julie Badiee, professor of art and chairwoman of the Department of Art and Art History, on "Iraqi Culture -- Roots for the West."
* Nina Gregg, instructor in communication, on "A Feminist Perspective on Cross Cultural Communication."
* David Braune, local peace activist, on "Just-War Theory -- A Christian Perspective."
* Terence A. Dalton, assistant professor of English, on "Military Censorship -- What'sAhead?"
WAR IN THE GULF