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Families of captured pilots wait, hope

Chief Warrant Officers Ronald D. Young Jr., left, and David S. Williams were filmed after their capture.
Chief Warrant Officers Ronald D. Young Jr., left, and David S. Williams were filmed after their capture.

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CNN's Paula Zahn talks to the family of Chief Warrant Officer Ronald D. Young Jr.
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Family members hope for the safe return of the POWs. CNN's Brian Cabell reports.
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LITHIA SPRINGS, Georgia (CNN) -- The mother of an Apache helicopter pilot taken prisoner Monday in Iraq said maternal intuition told her something had happened to her son before she was informed officially that he had been captured.

Kaye Young said it happened around 11:40 p.m. Sunday. "I just had a mother's feeling. I just felt like Ron was there with me, I felt like he put his arms around me," she said of her son Ronald Jr., 26, who was taken prisoner after his chopper went down in Karbala, about 60 miles southwest of Baghdad.

David S. Williams, 30, of Florida, was captured along with Young. Both are chief warrant officers with the 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, based at Fort Hood, Texas. Young, who is single, has been in the Army for three years, his family said.

Military officials said Williams has been in the service for 12 years. His wife and two children, Jason, 2, and Madison, five months, live in Fort Hood, his father, David Williams Sr., said during a Tuesday press conference in Orlando, Florida.

The senior Williams said he finds encouragement in knowing that Iraq returned all POWs safely after the first Gulf War in 1991. Iraq's ambassador to Russia Tuesday pledged Iraq's commitment to abide by the Geneva Conventions concerning the treatment of prisoners of war.

"I'm going to do what I normally do" while waiting, Williams said. "It's out of my hands. It's in the hands of God. ... I'm sure he'll be kept safe because the world knows."

Young and Williams are two of seven soldiers the Iraqis have taken as prisoners. The other five soldiers were captured when Iraqi forces ambushed an army supply convoy near Nasiriya. (Full story)

Kaye Young said she began worrying after seeing televised images of an Apache helicopter on the ground. The aircraft had the bat-wing insignia of her son's unit, the "Vampires" -- so-called because they usually fly at night.

Then an Army chaplain and officer from Fort McPherson, Georgia, confirmed her fears with a visit to her house. "They said, 'We're here on behalf of the U.S. government and are here to tell you that your son Ronald is listed as missing in action.'"

"I started screaming, 'I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!'" Young said.

A brief video of Young and Williams from Iraqi TV first aired on Abu Dhabi TV, and showed the two wearing their flight suits and talking to someone off-camera.

CNN Correspondent Susan Candiotti visited with the Young family and was the first to show that video to them.

Young's father and one of his sisters turned away from the television monitor, while his mother and another sister looked intently at the screen.

Members of the Young family talked to CNN on Tuesday.
Members of the Young family talked to CNN on Tuesday.

"He looks good, he looks like he always looks when he's angry," his mother said, adding that she's proud of him. "He's a tough soldier and he believes in what he's doing. He wanted to go."

Williams said his son appeared to be in good health in the video clip. "He seemed to be in good spirits. I'm sure he'll make the best of it. ... I was kind of relieved (to see him) because he was alive. Before that, he was MIA [missing in action]."

The younger Williams met his wife while he was in military flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama, his father said. He joined the military reserves after graduating from high school in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he played football for his school team.

Williams described his son as "more on the quiet side, likes to observe" and "very close with his children."


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