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Captured pilot's mother felt something was wrong

Kaye Young: Had intuitive feeling about son's fate after seeing pictures of downed helicopter.
Kaye Young: Had intuitive feeling about son's fate after seeing pictures of downed helicopter.

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LITHIA SPRINGS, Georgia (CNN) -- The mother of an Apache helicopter pilot taken prisoner Monday in Iraq said her maternal intuition told her something had happened to her son, even before she was informed he had been captured.

At 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," said Kaye Young of her son Ronald Jr., 26, who was taken prisoner after 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, 1 Cavalry Division, based in Fort Hood, Texas.

Kaye Young said she was worried when she earlier saw televised video of an Apache helicopter on the ground with several Iraqis standing around it. She noticed the chopper had the bat-wing insignia of her son's unit, the "Vampires" -- so called because they usually fly at night.

Then she received word it was her son's aircraft.

"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,'" she said of the Army chaplain and officer from Fort McPherson who came to her home with the news.

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

Her husband, Ronald Sr., was called home from work and was met on the front lawn by a friend of the family.

'"There's some people from the Army in there, you'd better get inside,'" the pilot's father said the friend told him.

The two Army representatives told the family the last time they had contact with Ronald, Jr., was at around midnight Sunday night, and they did not know his whereabouts. A later phone call from the Army told the family it wasn't confirmed that Ronald Jr. was a prisoner.

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

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

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

"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."

Kaye Young said she has no more tears left after crying for most of the day, but said she is gaining strength from the many prayer chains begun on behalf of her son. Their church is fasting for her son, she said.

Her husband said he wants his son to know that "I love him and I can't wait for him to come home."

Ronald's sister, Kelly Lively, cried when she talked about her brother.

"I want everybody to know that we support what he's doing, and that we just love him, and we know that even if he loses his life or whatever, it is for a good cause," she sobbed, holding pictures of her brother.

Ronald Sr. said his son, who has been in the Army for three years, was doing what he always dreamed of doing.

"I hope all the people over there, the POWs, get back like they left," he said.


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