KUWAIT CITY - Last Monday, U.S. Marine Reservist Jared Oakes was sent with a group from Camp Coyote, located in the Kuwaiti desert, into Kuwait City to pick up equipment that had arrived by ship.

While in the city, he and some of his friends had set out to find telephones in order to call their families back home. Jared was able to use a Kuwaiti citizen's cellular phone in order to call his parents, Debbie and John, on the Peninsula.

"Yo Mama!" was how Debbie said her son welcomed her when she answered the phone. She said that her son was in very good spirits and that he was going to be in Kuwait City for a day or two loading up this new equipment. Debbie said that hearing from her son over the phone for the first time since deploying was relieving.

"It totally encouraged me," she said, "It totally lightened my load."

When ending the conversation Jared told his mother he would call again the next day. Not thinking of the time difference, she had expected him to call the next evening. She was worried about this because she and her husband were going to be staying in Portland the next night following her husband's minor surgery.

But as they drove into the Rose City the next morning there was a ring on John's cellular phone and the sound of the son again on the other end.

They talked some about the start of the conflict on its way and Jared made a statement that holds much weight as troops approach the capitol city of Iraq.

"If the way home is through Baghdad," he said, "let's get on with it."

Debbie said that Jared did not tell her and she has not heard presently where her son and his outfit, Second Battalion 23rd Marine, are or are heading, but said that just being able to talk with him for a short time made all the difference.

"That totally made us feel 100 percent better."

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