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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 02:46 GMT
Iraq shows off Apache crew
US crewmen Ronald Young (L) and David Williams in captivity (pic: Iraqi TV)
The two men were not asked questions on camera
Two US helicopter crewmen captured by Iraq and paraded on TV have been identified by the Pentagon.

The US named them as Chief Warrant Officer David Williams and Chief Warrant Officer Ronald Young, missing after an attack near Karbala involving 30 or 40 helicopter gunships.

Iraq said the two men were the crew of an Apache attack helicopter downed near the city, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) south-west of Baghdad.

The Iraqi broadcast came the day after five other US prisoners-of-war were shown being questioned by Iraqi television in an episode described as "disgusting" by US officials.

A Pentagon official, Major General Stanley McChrystal, confirmed that the two warrant officers had gone missing during an attack on the Medina Division of Iraq's Republican Guard on Monday.

Identification papers

The two captives were not asked questions on camera and were shown sitting, apparently in good health.

Pictures of what were said to be their identification papers were also shown.

Iraqi television also broadcast footage of the state-of-the-art helicopter, which looked virtually intact, in a field.

Iraqis with the captured Apache
The Apache appeared undamaged

A correspondent for the US television network CNN, who was travelling with the US Army Fifth Corps 11th Attack Helicopter Regiment, said the helicopters had been attacking Republican Guard units close to Baghdad in a night-time operation.

He quoted one of the pilots as saying the regiment had hit a "hornet's nest, a barrage of anti-aircraft fire".

The correspondent added that most of the armoured helicopters had been hit by bullets and he said that the crews had arrived back "feeling surprised, dazed, stunned somewhat".

Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf said two Apaches had been shot down by a "small number of... brave peasants".

The US has denied that a second helicopter is missing.

'Vietnam flashbacks'

Relatives of US service personnel captured in Iraq have been speaking of their anguish over their loved ones' fate.

Anecita Hudson is comforted by her son Anthony
I just want him to come home alive
Anecita Hudson
mother of POW
Anecita Hudson of Alamogordo, New Mexico, said that seeing her 23-year-old son Joseph Hudson paraded on Iraqi TV as a POW was like a "bad dream".

"I don't want him to get cold, and I don't want him to get hungry. I just want him to come home alive," she said.

Another of her sons, 18-year-old Anthony, reacted with anger to his brother's capture.

"I feel like loading up my shotgun and going overseas," he was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. "Send me over there. I'll get him back."

Correspondents report that the war is reviving bad memories of an earlier war for some Americans.

Robert Colson, a Vietnam veteran in Nashville, Tennessee, told Reuters that the conflict was giving him "a lot of flashbacks".

"I can't help but feel that [US soldiers] are victims of a government policy gone amok," he said.

Another interviewee, Nicholas Anton of Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, said it was naive to think that the Iraqis would be "flag-waving and welcoming".

"That crazy euphoria everyone had in the beginning was very short-lived, and now people have to deal with the consequences of a real war," he said.

The BBC's Ian Pannell
"The public is being braced for worse to come"

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