Loss Marches Alongside Love

Lt. Frederick Pokorney Jr. is shown in this undated family handout photo. Lt. Frederick Pokorney Jr., is one of the Marines killed in an ambush Sunday, March 23, 2003 near An Nasiriyah, Iraq according to U.S. military officials
AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal
This week's action in the U.S. war on Iraq took a heavy toll on Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C. In the community, loss marches alongside love.

Chelle Pokorney says she loved her husband, 2nd Lt. Frederick Pokorney, so much that she thought they could tell what the other was feeling. When they last looked at each other two months ago, as he shipped out, the feeling was not good, says Chelle Pokorney.

"When he left, I knew he wasn't coming home," says Chelle Pokorney. "That's the way we were. He didn't have to tell me."

She did lose him, and their 2-year-old daughter, Taylor, lost her father.

"He was the most honorable man that you could ever know," says Chelle. "He was a gentle giant, and such an honorable Marine. And he loved his family, and he also loved his Marines."

Jocelyn Wilcox, 2 months old, has not met her father yet. Sgt. Dale Wilcox was deployed before she was born. He doesn't even have a picture of her yet.

"Thank God I have the Marines," says Mrs. Wilcox, Dale's wife, who is also named Jocelyn.

"It's kind of hard, because I think about all the things that can happen, and the fact that he might not come home and never see her," she explains. "I just literally sit there and hold on for dear life."

Now she finds the most strength in those who have lost the most, in people like Chelle Pokorney.

"I just want us all to go on and enjoy the peace that I have," says Chelle Pokorney. "And I want to be able to share that in my husband's name and in his honor."

The military community is now without 17,000 Marines deployed overseas, and the families stationed there are also far away from their hometowns, leaving them with no one to hold on to but each other.