Five weeks after her husband was killed in an F-16 fighter jet crash in Saudi Arabia, April Chinburg opened her mailbox to find his final letter to her.
"He wrote nearly every day, so I knew there should be one more," she said Wednesday. "It was delayed; I just got it yesterday."Mrs. Chinburg still is waiting for an accident report that will tell her the details of how her newlywed husband was killed. All she knows now is that he died in a night training mission nine days before allied forces started bombing Iraq and Kuwait.
The pilot's last letter sounded "upbeat and futuristic," she said.
He wrote about coming home to his wife and exploring their new home state of Utah together.
A fellow member of the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron, part of Hill Air Force Base's 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, told Mrs. Chinburg during a base memorial service that her husband had talked about his brief marriage as the happiest time in his life.
The couple met when Chinburg, a Durham, N.C., native, was stationed at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. She's from Miami.
The couple had talked about the possibility that he wouldn't come home.
"He said, `War is my business and business is good,' " she said. "I just wish we could all turn back the clock so this thing never had to happen."
She celebrated what would have been his 27th birthday Jan. 23. She misses him fiercely. "I'd deal with the devil to get him back or go to where he is," she said. "But I can't. He'd want me to go on and be happy."