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Mom wishes for daughter’s safe return

Woman hopes words of encouragement, holiday cheer are sent to soldier

Jamie Hallman

— Deo Hobbs said her holiday wish as a mother is to have her daughter, Marie Koly, home safe from her participation in the war on terrorism. Koly is on the USS Decatur, which is on its way to the Persian Gulf.

Although Koly is not scheduled to be released from the Navy until August, Hobbs said she hopes her daughter receives some words of encouragement and Christmas cheer via e-mail from her friends in Steamboat Springs.

“She feels determined, but she’s scared,” said Hobbs about her daughter’s attitude toward the war.

Hobbs said the day Koly came home during her senior year in high school and told her she was joining the Navy, the thought of her daughter having to participate in a war didn’t even cross her mind.

“I hear people talking about war in an abstract way and wonder if they would think differently if they had children there,” Hobbs said.

Koly, who had no initial interest in attending college, tested well in the Navy exams and was placed in a high-pressure, high-ranking position after her basic training.

Koly is an electronic warfare technician; she detects incoming radar signals to determine if their intent is hostile, neutral or friendly, assigns personnel to maintain damage-control equipment and serves as the passive countermeasures system coordinator on board. Five other people have the same job as Koly.

About 340 people are aboard the Decatur and only 45 of them are women.

Koly’s job, in addition to CD-based classes she takes on board, keeps her preoccupied, and she has very little spare time.

“She is kept busy, which keeps her from dwelling on anything,” Hobbs said.

For Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Koly said the ship’s excessive cost for using the phone will be reduced, and the crew aboard the ship will be able to call home for 1 cent a minute.

Because of the regular expense of the phone, e-mail fills a gap in communication between the ship’s crew members and their families.

“I don’t know what I would do without my e-mail,” Koly said. “Regular mail takes so long out here.”

Koly receives an e-mail a day from her mother, and Hobbs said she is informed daily of her daughter’s well-being.

Hobbs reassures her daughter by telling her the positive effects of the war.

“I told her how it has helped the Afghanistan women who can now take classes and don’t have to wear their Burkas 24 hours a day.”

Hobbs said her consolation helps a little, but Koly’s capability and the readiness of her fellow Navy members comforts her the most.

“The ship I’m on has the latest combatant technology; it can pretty much fight for itself,” Koly said.

“We are the best. It shows because we won the Battle Efficiency Award for our squadron last year,” she said.

Hobbs said she felt a sense of relief when Koly described how prepared and capable the members aboard her ship were. Hobbs said the most relieving moment will be when she gets to see her daughter. Hobbs said she is going to meet Koly at the halfway point when she gets released.

“I can’t wait,” she said. “I’m looking so forward to seeing her.”


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