The crash of an F-16 fighter from Hill Air Force base and the death of its pilot, Capt. Michael L. Chinburg, has stunned Chinburg's South Ogden neighbors.
The tragedy also points up the importance of Hill's Family Support Center, which is in the base's Building 308 and counsels relatives of servicemen and women involved in Operation Desert Shield."He was a fine individual, he was an exceptional young man," said a woman who lives close to the Chinburg residence. "Did everything well . . . He was just a neat individual."
The woman, who asked that the Deseret News not use her name, said she was going to offer her condolences directly to Mrs. Chinburg.
"He took pride in everything he did, be it his work, his home and his family. He was just an exceptional young man - a person that the service and the country can be proud of."
A man who lives nearby said he didn't know Chinburg well, as he works nights and Chinburg worked days, and the captain hadn't lived there long.
But from what he did know, "he was just a nice guy." Chinburg liked to ski, and sometimes his brothers would visit him from out of town, the neighbor said.
Arnie Ellsworth, director of the Family Support Center, told the Deseret News, "Our business has increased since Desert Shield came into being. We are answering questions and quelling rumors."
One false rumor that is circulating is that packages could not be sent from home to the men and women in Desert Shield. "I say when that comes out announced by our Post Office and our Department of Defense, believe it."
Until then, he said, continue sending packages.
In addition, the center gives classes in stress management and communications skill. "We provide information and referral upon request to answer people's needs," he said.
A 24-hour care line is available with qualified staffers and volunteers giving advice. It is 777-4681.
Children whose mothers or fathers are away in Southwestern Asia for the effort are especially vulnerable to stress. "There's disciplinary problems," Ellsworth said.
The center provides the parents who are still here with information on how to deal with the children's special fears and needs.
Hill's elementary school, which is operated by the Davis County School Distinct, helped with the meetings, he said. Children who were at risk were identified, and group meetings were held with them. "Far as I'm concerned, it was excellent," he said.
The center is unable to increase its paid staff, which numbers five, but it draws heavily upon volunteers. "In various capacities we have over 100 volunteers . . . We use them as needed," Ellsworth said.
Perhaps surprisingly, the tension among the family members left at home hasn't increased to the extent that more are coming in to the center as the deadline for Iraq to withdraw approached.
"I guess it's no worse now than it was when it first started," Ellsworth said.