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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interviews With Pat Donahue, Julie Galloway

Aired July 18, 2003 - 20:36   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

SOPHIA CHOI, CNN ANCHOR: There has been a lot of anger this week over the Pentagon's decision to delay the homecoming for the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. Let's listen to this soldier.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Shooting, I want to go home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHOI: In Hinesville, Georgia, a group of soldiers' wives are also upset. They're planning a rally tomorrow, but not everyone's happy about it. I'm joined now by Pat Donahue. He's the executive editor of the "Coastal Courier" newspaper. Welcome.

PAT DONAHUE, EXEC. DIR., THE COASTAL COURIER: Thank you.

CHOI: Let me talk about your small town. It really kind of seems split between two camps. Let's talk about the atmosphere there. What are you seeing?

DONAHUE: Well, granted, there's a great deal of disappointment, universal throughout the town. And it's really -- there's a lot of frustration as well. I mean, everybody has been waiting for them to come home since before the war started. And that disappointment has only been exacerbated by the delays they've had in late May and then now. And there's a great deal of frustration as well. Those are the two overriding sentiments.

There are some folks who are angry. There's a little bit of resentment and bitterness out there right now amongst some of the spouses and families that are waiting. And it's a human nature, and it's understandable. How much is...

CHOI: Let me ask you about the fort there. You must be hitting kind of a brick wall with administrators at the fort, because I'm sure this is such a sensitive issue they don't really want to talk about it.

DONAHUE: Not really. They're usually pretty good, if you want to set up interviews, especially with the Family Assistance Center and the family readiness groups, they're very willing to help out with that. They know now -- because they know exactly what the mood is, too, I mean, they hear it from both sides, they hear it from overseas, then they hear it from home. As far as the media perspective goes, you have thousands of wives there in Hinesville in the Fort Stewart area and around, and if you want to be able to talk to a wife, it's pretty easy. They're out there. Whatever point of view you're looking for, if you want to find a wife who's particularly angry, you're going to be able to find that out of 6,000 or 7,000. If you want to try to find a wife who's -- well, none of them are exactly very happy about this, but someone who's maybe a little more accepting of the situation, you're going to be able to find that, too.

So as far as the post setting up interviews with wives, it's not that difficult for them. And they don't really run up a brick wall because now there's -- most of the media outlets have their own resources now that they don't really have to go through the post to interview a wife. Because a lot of them live off post, too.

CHOI: Right.

DONAHUE: And once a wife is off post, she can talk to any media she wants to.

CHOI: Well, that's good to know, that they can at least talk about these issues. Pat Donahue, thank you so much for setting the stage. And we're going to talk with one of those wives right now. She is going to take part in a rally tomorrow at the Wal-Mart in Hinesville, Georgia, home to Fort Stewart and the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division. For a deeper perspective let's talk to this lady right now, Julie Galloway. Her husband is a member of the 3rd Infantry. She joins me now live from Savannah. And with her is her daughter, Emily. Thanks for joining us.

JULIE GALLOWAY, MILITARY WIFE: Thank you.

CHOI: You've had second thoughts about coming on this program tonight because you felt pressured. Tell us about that.

GALLOWAY: Well, I was misquoted by some media saying that I actually organized a protest. I organized nothing as such. As far as a rally goes, supporting our troops, I am 100 percent there. I support my husband 100 percent. As far as him not coming home, I am upset that he's not coming home, but what wife isn't? We all miss our husbands. It's our natural feeling.

CHOI: Are you facing any criticism, though, for voicing that frustration, about not knowing when your husband's coming home?

GALLOWAY: Well, I face criticism as far as people saying I might get my husband in trouble by statements that I make. But I'm only making obvious statements that I miss my husband, I worry about him being over there, and -- I mean, that's just a natural feeling that any wife would have.

CHOI: Well, let's talk about this rally in support of the troops. When will it be, and how large of a movement is this?

GALLOWAY: OK. I found out via e-mail, and what I got was is it was going to be in the parking lot of an old Wal-Mart located in Hinesville. Today I found out it was going to be at a coffee shop. So what -- I don't know where it's going to be.

CHOI: So it's a little confusing there? OK. Well, I understand that some of the people that will attend that rally are actually protesting the fact that their husbands are not being treated fairly in their eyes. Let's take a look at this e-mail that we got a hold of. It's an anonymous e-mail from a member of the 2nd Brigade. And it says -- "We are the forgotten and betrayed soldiers of the 2nd Brigade. Our morale is not high or low. It is nonexistent. Where is the honor and integrity the Army preaches in basic school? Our troops and our equipment are worn out."

So in light of that, let me ask you what your husband is saying about morale to you.

GALLOWAY: My husband, his morale is low. He misses us real bad. But he is a sergeant. He loves his job. He don't want to come home without his other soldiers. He trained for 10 years for this. He was ready. He was completely trained for it. And all I can do is support him 100 percent.

CHOI: Well, what are some of the difficulties you've had to face with your husband gone for so long?

GALLOWAY: His mother perished in a house fire on Valentine's Day. So with that and the legal issues -- I got laid off, which my company was good enough to call me back after the first 900 troops returned. Other than that, just stuff at the house breaking down and having to learn how to do it myself.

CHOI: It's been a difficult time for both your husband and yourself being separated for this long. We understand that. Let me ask you, at this point do you know when your husband will come home? And if not, who do you blame for that?

GALLOWAY: I do not know when he's going to come home, and I do not blame anybody for that. You know, we have been given tentative dates. The military's just doing the best that they can with what they have to go with. So.

CHOI: Julie Galloway, thank you so much.

GALLOWAY: He'll get here when he gets here. Thank you.

CHOI: Understood. Understood. We are so proud of your husband, and we are proud of you for working hard on your own despite all the difficulties you're facing without him. Thank you.

GALLOWAY: Thank you.

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