- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

BAGHDAD (AP) Iraqi state television yesterday showed two men said to have been the U.S. crew of an Apache helicopter forced down during heavy fighting in central Iraq.
Gen. Tommy Franks, the allied commander, confirmed that one helicopter did not return from its mission Sunday and that its two-man crew was missing. The men were identified as Chief Warrant Officer Ronald D. Young Jr., 26, of Lithia Springs, Ga., and Chief Warrant Officer David S. Williams, 30, of Orlando, Fla.
If the Iraqi report is confirmed, the airmen would be the second set of prisoners of war displayed by the Iraqis in as many days. On Sunday, the Arab satellite television station Al Jazeera carried Iraqi footage of five U.S. soldiers who were captured near Nasiriyah, a crossing point over the Euphrates River.
Unlike those soldiers, the men shown yesterday did not appear to be injured.
The two wore cream-colored pilots' overalls and did not speak to the camera but appeared confused. They turned their heads and looked in different directions. One of the men, sipping from a glass of water, looked wary but not cowed.
The contents of one man's wallet including a Texas driver's license, a card from the Fort Hood National Bank, phone cards and credit cards were displayed across a table.
A spokesman at the U.S. Army Post in Fort Hood, Texas, said that a helicopter from its 1st Battalion of the 227th Aviation Regiment was missing in action in Iraq.
"The unit was deployed in February," spokesman Dan Hassett said. "That's all I can really say right now."
Military officials said Chief Warrant Officer Williams has been in the service for 12 years, and has a wife and two children who live in Fort Hood. Chief Warrant Officer Young, an Army man for three years, is single.
"He felt good about what they were doing, that they were going to get out there and it was going to be a quick situation," his father, Ronald Young Sr., told CNN.
The footage was shown after Iraq claimed it shot down two Apache helicopters and was holding the pilots.
Gen. Franks denied that a second chopper had been lost, or that any craft had been shot down by farmers.
Iraqi state television showed pictures of one Apache helicopter in a grassy field. Men in Arab headdresses holding Kalashnikov automatic rifles danced around the aircraft.

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