A former POW in the Persian Gulf War, Jeffrey Zaun, said the reality of combat and captivity tempered his feelings about war. But, he added, if he had to, he could get back in his plane and bomb Baghdad.
"There's times for peace and there's times for war," the Navy flier said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press from this training base.
"We did what we had to do," he said of American pilots and ground troops who crushed Iraq. "What we had to do is make a better world and we did make a better world."
Zaun said earlier reports by the Associated Press incorrectly characterized his statements by saying he had second thoughts about war. It's true the reality of war blunted his eagerness for battle, Zaun said. "I did get to see the ugly part of it. You hear most of it. You hear the bombs going off. You want to live and you know the guys down there are dying."
But he later emphasized that has not deterred him from pursuing his military career. The earlier reports were based on an interview that appeared Saturday in the Lahontan Valley News and Fallon Eagle Standard.
Zaun, a 28-year-old lieutenant, was the bombardier-navigator on an A6-E intruder shot down over southwestern Iraq on Jan. 17. He spent 47 days in captivity and became known to Americans as the battered young aviator forced by his captors to denounce allied aggression on television.