OREM SURGEON COMES HOME FROM WAR TO FIND SPECIAL DELIVERY WAITING JUST FOR HIM FAMILY: OVERDUE BABY HELPS NAVY LIEUTENANT KEEP HIS PROMISE TO SEE THE CHILD'S BIRTH.Grace Grooms' baby was due March 1. Guy Grooms said he would be there during the delivery. The only one stopping him was Saddam Hussein.
Navy Lt. Guy Grooms is a battalion surgeon with the 1st Marine Battalion, 7th Marines Infantry Division - the first group to enter Kuwait City.When Guy left for Saudi Arabia on Aug. 13, 1990, he became the first member of his family to see action in war since his great-great-grandfather, Samuel Stallings, a surgeon, fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.
Guy's mother, Mary Mostert, said Stalling's wife, Eliza, was also expecting a baby when her husband left for battle. Samuel Stallings died in the war. Fortunately, history didn't repeat itself.
At 9:25 a.m. Wednesday, Grooms arrived home to Orem expecting to greet his wife and newborn baby. Instead, he met his three boys, his mother, neighbors, friends and family, and the expectant Grace - now 14 days overdue.
"This baby is waiting for its daddy," Mostert said.
Grooms said he had two very strong feelings while in Saudi Arabia: that he would be home to see his baby born, and that none of his men would be killed.
Both proved true.
"I can't say enough about the courage of the Marines," Grooms said. "When our supply train was ambushed (going into Kuwait), two of our vehicles were hit," he said. "The rounds of .50-caliber shells ripped between two Marines in the front seat. They were so calm, they knew exactly what to do. We were outnumbered, but the Marines returned the fire."
Although Grooms' skills were not needed as much as he expected, he still had opportunities to help the allied troops. He also treated Iraqi prisoners of war and had a first-hand view of Kuwait on liberation day.
"We really liberated two groups of people," he said. "The Kuwaitis - and the Iraqis." He said the Iraqis marched to surrender, in formation as whole units, divisions and battalions.
Like many other soldiers, Grooms has stories to tell about his seven-month stay. Stories about the kisses he received from the women, and men, of Kuwait City. Stories of heroes, like the 20-year-old soldier who fought for four hours after receiving shrapnel damage to his ear.
But Grooms' experiences weren't all
poignant scenes fit for a made-for-TV movie. There were moments he'd like to forget.
"We could have, in fact we did, lose more soldiers from disease than by the enemy," he said. "There were insects that spread diseases and strange parasites that we've never seen before, and . . . we had a real problem with dysentery."
He said there were good times too, especially during mail call. (Grooms said people in Utah and Kansas sent the most "To Any Soldier" letters). And the holidays were festive.
"We had a little choir that sang Christmas Carols," Grooms said. "They sang "Silent Night" like it was the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
And some of the Christmas tunes they bellowed won't be found in any hymnal or Reader's Digest Christmas Carol book. Songs like, "Dashing Through the Sand," "Saddam Hussein Is Coming To Town," and the ever-popular, "On the Twelve Days of Christmas My Gunny Gave to Me."
All this helped to break the tension and prepare the troops for what lay ahead.
"Combat is very, very stressful, and very, very loud," he said. "People are trying to kill you and you kill them."
Now Grooms is home, and, he said, "I have 14 days away from the Marines." He hopes to spend most of those days with his family and its new addition.