Academy joy, sorrow: One grad freed by Iraqis, another 0...

Notes from the home front

March 07, 1991

Academy joy, sorrow: One grad freed by Iraqis, another 0) killed in crash

Joy in Annapolis at the release of Naval Academy graduate and Marine bombardier Lt. Jeffrey N. Zaun, 28, of Cherry Hill, N.J., freed after more than 40 days as a prisoner of war by Iraq, is tempered by the death of another former mid.

Marine Corps Maj. Eugene "Gene" McCarthy, a 1977 graduate of the academy, was killed Feb. 2 when the AH-1 Cobra helicopter he was piloting crashed in an accident in Saudi Arabia. McCarthy, 35, from Brooklyn, N.Y., was on an escort mission.

The son of a New York City policeman, McCarthy joined the Marines after graduating from the academy and served with the corps until 1983, when he moved to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"He was a very gung-ho kind of guy," recalled Robert Bryden, head of the DEA's New York office. "He was a very courageous man."

McCarthy volunteered to serve in Peru's Upper Huallaga Valley, source of the coca leaves that produce much of the world's cocaine. He went on many raids, often jumping from a helicopter. He was commended for his outstanding performance last summer, just before he was called up from the reserves.

"This was a man who devoted his life to the service of his country," Bryden said.

MAP FLAP

There's a map of the Middle East laid out in blue tape on the floor of the foyer at Pleasant Plains Elementary School in Towson. A group of mothers with children at Pleasant Plains recently discussed the map after attending a community association meeting at the school.

They said they had heard that one parent had complained about the map because she saw it as an implicit promotion of the Gulf War.

"Nah, it's just here to teach the kids geography," one of the mothers said. "These kids need all the help they can get with their geography, believe me."

A CLOSER LOOK

Two former U.S. ambassadors to Arab countries, military officers and experts on art, religion, politics and human rights in the Middle East will speak in a series of lectures this month at Villa Julie College.

The series, entitled "The Storm and After: War and Peace in the Middle East," begins March 18 at Villa Julie, on Green Spring Valley Road in Stevenson. Thirteen talks and a play are scheduled for dates through March 27.

Admission is free. For a schedule and more information, call the college at 486-7000.

A VIEW FROM THE LEFT

For an alternative viewpoint on the Persian Gulf war, Marylanders may want to take in a presentation at 7:30 p.m. March 22 in Baltimore called "Making peace in the Middle East and at home."

Speakers will include Roger Newell, a Washington representative Jobs with Peace, a national group seeking to shift federal spending priorities from military to social concerns; and Tim Wheeler, a Washington correspondent for the People's Weekly World, a "working class newspaper" that reflects the editorial positions of the Communist Party of the U.S.A.

Newell and Wheeler will address such questions as, "Did George Bush entice Iraq to invade Kuwait to further his secret objectives?" They will also condemn the allied bombing and invasion of Iraq as "genocide."

They will speak in Room 200 of the New Era Bookshop, 408 Park Ave., Baltimore. Proceeds will benefit the People's Weekly World.

USO BENEFIT

A rock concert to benefit the United Service Organizations' "Operation Home Front" is already sold out, says its sponsor, WIYY-FM.

"98-Rock listeners have the biggest hearts," says Russ Mottla, program director at the station. "Every time we ask them, they give of themselves. They never seem to run out of the capacity to give."

The concert at Painters Mill Theater March 18 will feature bands representing "three decades of Baltimore Rock and Roll," including Face Dancer, the Ravyns and Child's Play.

All proceeds will go to Operation Home Front, which provides aid to the families of 90,000 servicemen and women from the Baltimore-Washington area now serving in the gulf.

DEALING FOR DOLLARS

Mike Ballard, president of Ritchie Auto Sales in Glen Burnie, says his dealership will send $800 to the American Red Cross at the end of this month "for the support of our troops and their families."

The money was set aside by the company as part of a pledge to donate $100 for every car sold during the war, from the start of the air campaign Jan. 17 until the cease-fire last week, Ballard said.

The money will be donated in the names of the buyers.

Patrick Ercolano, Monica Norton, Susan Reid and Frank D. Roylance contributed to this report.

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