ONE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL REPORT
GNS correspondent John Yaukey and photo chief Jeff Franko traveled to Iraq in March. Browse their word and photo journals.
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January 26, 2005
January 25, 2005
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POW’s mother saw her son lead to safety on TV
By Farmington (N.M.) Daily-Times
FARMINGTON, N.M. -- A painful three-week wait ended Sunday for Mary Pichering, giving way to what promises to be prolonged celebration.
Pichering's son, prisoner of war Patrick Miller, was among seven American POWs rescued Sunday north of Baghdad by U.S. military forces.
"I've got a lot of good things to say today," Pichering said from her home in Farmington, where she lives with her husband, Harvey.
Pichering first found out her son had been rescued from her daughter, who saw the news on CNN.
"She called me and said some Americans had been found," Pichering said.
When Pichering turned on the television news Sunday morning, she saw her son Patrick being escorted to safety.
"My heart just gave a little leap and the tears just started rolling. I grabbed Harvey's arm and said, ‘It's him. It's him.’ It will just be even better when I can put my arms around him," Pichering said.
Since Miller's capture March 23 with five other members of his 507th Maintenance Company, Pichering has been wearing a patriotic bracelet with his name on it surrounded by silver stars and red, white, blue and yellow beads.
She said now that her son has been found, she will order another one to commemorate the other soldiers who were killed when the 507th was ambushed in Iraq.
She said she also will continue to pray for the other troops still fighting.
Pichering described her son, a native of Valley Center, Kan., as a fighter and a tough kid with a strong will.
"He has a very strong will and I knew that would carry him through," Pichering said.
When she found out he had been rescued, Pichering said, "I had a little bit of anxiety when I heard two (POWs) had been shot."
After seeing Patrick on television as he walked to an ambulance, her fears quickly subsided.
"I feel wonderful," she said.
Pichering said she last saw her son at Christmas. She and husband Harvey had taken a trip to Fort Bliss because they knew Miller would soon be sent overseas.