Visitor From Chicago, Speaking Fluent English, Is an Iraqi POW

<i> From a Times Staff Writer</i>

Bill Jackson’s biggest surprise of the war came when Iraqi prisoners of war were brought aboard his Navy ship: One of them spoke perfect English.

“He was living in Chicago and was visiting his family in Iraq when he was drafted to serve in Kuwait,” said Jackson, a lieutenant commander aboard the guided missile frigate Curts.

The Iraqi from Chicago was one of 51 soldiers captured Jan. 24 when Navy forces took over the tiny Kuwaiti island of Qurah and destroyed an Iraqi mine-laying ship.

According to a pool report on the incident, the 24-year-old Iraqi, whose name was not released, said he had been studying engineering in Chicago for two years and trying to obtain status as a permanent resident in the United States. He said he was visiting relatives in Iraq on Aug. 2 when his country invaded Kuwait, and he was drafted into the army on the spot.


“He said he was sorry about everything that had happened,” said a Kuwaiti naval official who questioned the man.

This article was compiled from Pentagon pool reports reviewed by military censors.