Marines, families brace for unknown
The men and women are expected to leave over the weekend.
By WILLIAM K. ALCORN
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
VIENNA -- Six-year-old Sierra Norris is worried her Marine daddy might have to go to war.
She wants to know where he is going, if he's going to be all right, and if he will be able to call her.
"We tell her we'll keep in touch ... everything will be OK," her mother, Dian Norris, says.
Dian, Sierra and 8-month old Liliana are the wife and children of Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Chuck Norris, who with about 40 of his fellow Marines has been ordered to active duty from the Landing Support Equipment Company at the Air Force Reserve Station. They will be on active duty for at least a year, and their tour could be extended up to two years.
The Norris family, of Hermitage, Pa., received word last week that Norris would be shipped to Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Detachment A consists of operators and mechanics for heavy equipment and motor transport vehicles, embarkation specialists and supply administrators.
Commanded by Capt. Robert Wyssbrod, the Landing Support Equipment Company's mission is to get essential supplies -- such as food, water, ammunition, fuel, spare parts, clothing and medical supplies -- from the rear to front-line Marines. The company is also used to reinforce combat engineer units and can be used in assaults against enemy fortifications or in digging ditches and fighting positions for the defense.
They were expected to leave over the weekend.
Expecting mobilization since 9/11, the Norrises and others in the unit have put their finances in order and have tried to prepare emotionally.
"Of course we're going to miss him ... I have two kids to take care of. But I'm scared. I don't know what to expect. He tells us it will be all right. We trust him," Dian said.
Norris, who was called up for Desert Storm, is a heavy equipment operator in the military and in civilian life. He works out of Operating Engineers Local 66 in Youngstown. He said his major worry is for his family. "I tell Sierra that Daddy's not going to be too far away."
Exciting but difficult
Cpl. Michael Tornincasa of Youngstown said it is hard leaving his wife, Nicole, and two sons, Anthony, 3, and Nicholas, 1. At the same time, he is excited about leaving. "I've wanted to get involved with the operation, wherever it takes me," he said.
Tornincasa, a Tamarkin Co. employee, said his wife is worried but is in good spirits and is supportive.
For Tornincasa, 26, a 1995 graduate of Struthers High School, this is a first deployment. "My main concern [about deployment] is, I still don't know what to expect."
Sgt. Anthony Pechatsko, 28, of Austintown, a heavy equipment operator in the military, said he expected to have a final family get-together Friday night. His parents are Geraldine Walters of Austintown and Stephen Pechatsko of Canfield.
Pechatsko, 28 and single, said he is ready to do the job of supporting the war on global terrorism. "It's what we trained for," he said.
Detachment A has members from several Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia communities.
Facing the unknown
Lance Cpl. Vikki Klingenberg, 22, of Parma, part of Detachment A, is one of four women in the Landing Support Equipment Company, which has about 80 members.
Klingenberg, a heavy equipment mechanic, is a senior at Kent State University, where she is studying to be a physical education teacher. She said her deployment will delay graduation.
Because it is her first deployment, she says she does not know exactly what to expect, and that part is "no fun." Still, "I like the Marine Corps, and I want to see the active-duty side of it," she said.