Bill Hendrix - who brought news to Utahns as a reporter for all three Salt Lake TV stations and later as press secretary to both of Utah's U.S. senators - has been helping families of sailors keep updated about casualties in the Persian Gulf.
Hendrix, a lieutenant commander in the Navy reserve and deputy director of the White House Commission for Employment Policy, was activated before the war began and was a team leader who set up the Navy's hotline for families."We set it up first when the 21 sailors were killed when a boat sank off Haifa (Israel)" before the war began, Hendrix said.
He said the hotline has 30 operators in the Pentagon taking calls 24 hours a day. "We've had more than 100,000 calls in the three weeks since the war started," Hendrix said. "It's gratifying to be involved in something like that."
Possibly the call he remembers the most came, unfortunately, from Utah.
"It was early in the morning, and the father of the Marine that was killed from Utah (Lance Cpl. Dion Stephenson) was calling. He wanted to get in touch with one of his son's buddies, who was in the Navy on Diego Garcia," an island in the Indian Ocean.
Hendrix expects to ship out to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 30 to 60 days to help with military public relations at Central Command or at fleet hospitals - which are similar to MASH operations - that are set up in support of Navy hospital ships.