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Pilot's mother had foreboding feeling


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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) -- Ronald Young Jr.'s mother knew something was wrong.

Sunday, the 26-year-old Apache helicopter flyer from Lithia Springs, Georgia, became a prisoner of war. Under heavy fire, his chopper went down in Karbala, about 60 miles southwest of Baghdad. Captured along with Young was David S. Williams, 30, of Florida.

Both are chief warrant officers with the Aviation Battalion, 1/227th Company C, 4th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas. Williams is a 12-year veteran, and Young enlisted three years ago.

Young's mother, Kaye, said she wrestled with a foreboding feeling Sunday evening and feared something horrible had happened to her son.

"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," said Kaye Young.

Young said she started worrying earlier in the day when she saw televised video of a fallen Apache helicopter that had the bat-wing insignia of her son's unit, the "Vampires" -- so called because they usually fly at night.

Later, an Army chaplain and officer from Fort McPherson came to her home. "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.

Young told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her son called her a week after leaving Texas in mid-February to head to the Persian Gulf.

"He called to tell me he was safe and to tell me some things he needed," Kaye Young said. "He wanted an MP3 player and electric shaver. I started to cry as he hung up, and he said, 'Don't do that. I'll be fine,' " she told the newspaper.

Ronald Young Jr., a graduate of Douglas County High School in Douglasville, Georgia, studied mechanical engineering at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Georgia, before joining the Army.

He'd almost experienced battle in 2001, receiving deployment orders for the war against terror in Afghanistan just after September 11, 2001. But the orders were canceled before he had to go.

Kaye Young said the family had a very open discussion back then about the possibility Young might not come home.

"He had told me if he was ever asked to give his life for his country, he hoped that he'd be able to do that honorably -- and he seemed very glad to do that, if that was needed," she said.

Ronald Young Sr. said his son was living out his dream of being a pilot.


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