Local soldier gives family taste of the action in Iraq

By Ed Brock

Last week Robin Stoor of Rex got a cryptic phone call from her husband, U.S. Army Sgt. John Stoor on duty with the 3rd Army in Kuwait. It was about the April 1 rescue of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch.

"The only thing he could tell me was he watched it unfold live," Stoor said. "He took a three-hour helicopter ride and watched it all unfold."

It was yet another proud moment for Robin Stoor, who has been waiting for her husband's return, along with their three sons, since shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

John Stoor had just returned home from a tour in Egypt.

"A couple of weeks later the terrorist strikes hit and he was up and gone," Robin Stoor said.

Robin Stoor described her husband as a jack-of-all-trades who serves as a driver and personal assistant to a general at Camp Doha near Kuwait City. She doesn't know much about what role he played in Lynch's rescue.

Lynch was rescued from a hospital after a week of captivity by a team of Navy SEALs, Marine commandos, Air Force pilots and Army Rangers.

Her parents and other family members recently flew to Germany, where she is recuperating.

On Friday the principal of Smith Elementary School, where 7-year-old Robert Stoor and 5-year-old Mason Stoor are students, made an announcement regarding John Stoor's participation in Lynch's rescue. Robert said he was proud of his dad's work, but that wasn't his first reaction.

"I feel sad that he's gone," he said.

Robin Stoor and her sons last saw John Stoor in June when he went to Salt Lake City, Utah for his grandfather's funeral. He came back to Atlanta for a couple of days before shipping back out to Camp Doha.

It was just before Robert's birthday.

"We went to Toys R Us before he left to buy my present," Robert said.

John Stoor tries to call home every other day, his wife says.

"It's usually about 2 or 3 a.m. when he calls me," Robin Stoor said. "He wants to talk because it's about 9 a.m. there."

He tells her it's hard to get any sleep. Sometimes he expresses his frustration with having been gone for so long and talks about leaving the Army after this tour. But that's something he's done before, his wife says.

"Civilian life isn't for him. He's a soldier," Robin Stoor said. "That's his job, that's what he's happy doing. I want him to be happy."

The Stoor's youngest son, Samuel, 3, will probably not recognize his father when he comes home even though he, his dad and brothers were working on their baseball skills. Robin Stoor and her mother, Margo Cabral, took over the task.

"John was teaching them how to hold the bat," Cabral said.

Now Robert is playing baseball at school and Mason is playing T-ball.

"He tells me I can do whatever I want," Robert said. "If my Dad knew I was in baseball and if he was home, he would take me to everything, practice, games. He's funny like that."

Now Robin Stoor is planning to take the boys to Disney World this summer, hopefully with their father.

"He doesn't know if he's going to be done but he said ?I don't want the kids to miss out on that kind of thing, take them anyway," she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.