Family of Apache Pilot Speaks - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/25/03

Family of Apache Pilot Speaks

Last week, Hunter Army Airfield Lt. Col. Dan Williams' Apache Longbow helicopter made a hard landing in enemy territory. Last night, he was on the CBS Evening News on WTOC. WTOC spoke with his family after this first news from the battlefield. They say life hasn't been the same since war started.

"We've dealt with deployments in the past, but I think by far this has been the most difficult, because we know every day he's in danger," daughter Jenny Williams said.

That's not an easy thing to swallow for this teenager, or her mother, Wendy, especially after Wendy got a late-night call last week.

"You automatically think the worst at 2:30 in the morning," Wendy said.

Luckily it was her husband calling to say he was okay after his Apache Longbow had gone down during a sandstorm in enemy territory.

"It was scary, very, very scary," she said. "I knew from what he said to me that evening he was okay, and I was alright with that. But until I read the full story, I didn't know how close to death he came, and that was really frightening."

Last night, the Williams women got a treat. They got to see their favorite Apache pilot on TV in an interview with Dan Rather.

"That's the first time I've seen him since this all started, and I was just so good to see his face," said Wendy. "We really miss him."

That's especially true after his close call.

"Now every time I hear something about an Apache," Jenny said, "I automatically think it's him."

"I think a good way to describe it is just taking your stomach and putting it in a knot," said Wendy.

That knot came back, as Lt. Col. Williams told Rather, "I had a missile fired at me myself. Between the plane in front of me and where I was. It was a pretty sobering experience."

That experience now has the Williams women counting the days until the war is over.

"I hope my dad comes home alive and not injured," said Jenny, "and I hope all of the other soldiers get home to see their families."

Jenny and Wendy Williams say they know we haven't seen the worst of this war yet. They're nervous about when our troops are in Baghdad.

Reported by: Holly Bristow, hbristow@wtoc.com

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