Published May 21, 2008
The pregnant wife of a brave Marine — whose brush with death during a gun battle with the Taliban was captured in a dramatic photo — told FOXNews.com that she feared an early trip to the delivery room when she realized the leatherneck under fire was her husband.
"I'm over seven months pregnant, so I thought I was going to go into labor," said Bobbie Bee, the wife of Sgt. William Olas Bee of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed in Afghanistan. "I knew automatically it was him."
A Reuters photographer captured Sgt. Bee's very close shave during a May 18 firefight in the Garmsir district of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, where U.S. and British troops have mounted an offensive since April 28 against a supply route used by the Taliban to funnel insurgents and weapons along the Pakistan border.
Bobbie, expecting her first child — a boy — said her 26-year-old husband is a "poker-face guy" who "lives for the Marine Corps." She spoke with him Wednesday morning and he reassured her he was "perfectly safe."
But she's had sleepless nights since the photographs of her husband surfaced earlier this week and flashed around the world.
She saw her husband's grimace in the photographs posted to a blog she reads, and though the captions of the photos said he was unscathed, she couldn't buy it.
"I wouldn't believe anybody saying he was OK until I actually spoke with him," Bobbie, 25, told FOXNews.com by phone from her parent's home in central Pennsylvania.
She quickly called the Marine's relatives to spread the good news.
"He's fighting to look out for the United States," said his grandmother, Belva Bee, noting "it’s something that he wanted to do, and if something happens to him over there I’ll know he was doing something that he wanted to do."
Sgt. Bee, an Ohio native and member of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment of the 24th MEU who has been a Marine for about nine years, has been deployed to Afghanistan since March. Though he's been there before, this is his first deployment since he married Bobbie on April Fool's Day 2006.
Bobbie credits the Marines' Key Volunteer Network, a program that uses phone chains to keep families informed of their loved one's status, with helping her through the ordeal.
"We're taught the whole process, but when it becomes your own Marine, you lose all that," she said.
Much was made of the photographs, which showed Sgt. Bee defending a mud wall without a helmet. Bobbie said her husband told her he was changing into fresh clothes when the company came under gunfire.
"He said he turned around and did what he had to do."