BRIAN & GRACE

Pilot and Wife

Grace and Brian
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MARCH 31, 2003 · During a war -- especially during a war -- the military is serious about keeping secrets. For example, Brian, an Air Force major flying reconnaissance missions over Iraq, can't even tell his wife, Grace -- who's home at an air base in Nebraska with their three children -- exactly what he's doing. We can't even tell you Brian's last name or where he's based. Here are War Diary entries from Brian and Grace about what he does for a living, and how they never talk about it.

Brian: "I have gone up on missions and by the time that I have landed, what we discovered during flight has been on the national news. That is something that you'd love to tell everyone and say, 'Hey look, I was partly responsible for this.' And you simply smile and maybe talk to your crew about it, but that is really it. You really don't say anything to anyone who's not allowed to know that."

Grace: "We've been married for 12 years... When we were first married, it was probably hardest then because I had all these questions when I would come home from work and ask, 'How did your day go, what did you do, where did you go flying?' And I was told, 'Well, I really can't tell you.'"

"You just get used to it and you learn not to ask the questions that you're not going to get an answer to and you really find other things to talk about." -- Grace

Brian: "My wife, by nature, she's extremely curious. Sometimes she'll ask a question and she doesn't know that it's something I can't answer. [In an e-mail] what she will say is, 'Do you think they got Saddam?'"

Grace: "...he'll just e-mail back and say, 'Well, I hope so...'"

Brian: "I preface everything by saying, 'As you saw in the news, here's what the news said.' Even if I know the news is correct or if I know the news is incorrect, I am not going to say. I've been doing this for 10 years and I think early on I probably... made mistakes -- not glaring. But I think if she was able to put together events, that she would easily be able to figure out who we maybe had done missions against based on where I went, the days I was gone and all that kind of stuff."

Grace: "Brian is very good at maybe avoiding the questions that he doesn't want to give the 'Yes-No' answers to. But there are many things that I watch in the news that I have to let him know that 'Gosh, I saw this on TV and I think it may have been you.' ...but really knowing in the back of my mind he's not going to tell me anyway. But you know as time goes on, you just get used to it and you learn not to ask the questions that you're not going to get an answer to and you really find other things to talk about."


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