Menu

Home of 101st Reacts to Attack

At the home of the 101st Airborne Division, anxiety over loved ones in war turned into horror when they learned that some of them were attacked and that a fellow soldier had been detained as a suspect.

"It's obvious when you hear that someone from here has been injured or harmed, it's a sickening experience to think that it's someone that you know" who may be responsible, said the Rev. Gerald Baker, whose area congregation is 10 percent active-duty Army. "You wonder what is wrong with them or what they must have been struggling with."

The division's camp in Kuwait was attacked early Sunday with grenades, wounding 14 soldiers, four seriously, U.S. military officials said.

The detained soldier, who had not been charged, is assigned to the 101st. The motive in the attack "most likely was resentment," said Max Blumenfeld, a spokesman for the U.S. Army V Corps. He did not elaborate.

The early morning attack took place in the command center of the 101st Division's 1st Brigade at Camp Pennsylvania, Blumenfeld said. He did not identify the wounded soldiers or say if any high-ranking officers were among them.

The attack compounded the anxiety of relatives of the division's soldiers, as well as the community.

"This is a very difficult situation for us here," said Baker, of Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Hopkinsville, about 20 miles north of Fort Campbell. "The immediate response is people start to pray."

Willee Cooper had just come home from a planning meeting for a pro-troop rally when she heard that the 101st had been attacked.

"I know my heart feels like it's dropped," said Cooper, 55.

The 101st Airborne is a rapid deployment group trained to go anywhere in the world within 36 hours. The roughly 22,000 members of the 101st were deployed Feb. 6.

The news was a contrast from hearing about the progress military officials said has been made in Iraq.

"I know we were all feeling very buoyant," said Cooper, of Hopkinsville.

Cooper, whose husband retired from the base, said she can relate to how the soldiers' wives are feeling.

"It's hard, it is," she said. "I've been a spouse, I know it's so difficult. I've just never known any women stronger than a military spouse."