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Utah Soldier Made Same Flight Day Before Helicopter Attacked

Utah Soldier Made Same Flight Day Before Helicopter Attacked

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LINTHICUM, Md. (AP) -- Troops arriving Monday morning in Baltimore for two weeks of home leave said they had made the same helicopter flight to Baghdad International Airport a day before Sunday's attack.

Army Spc. Kelly Collett, 24, and another soldier stood over a stack of newspapers at a Hudson News store at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, shaking their heads as they read the story about the attack.

Collett, a member of the 1457th Engineers, said he didn't know about the deaths until the plane landed and he called home in Vernal, Utah.

"My wife told me about it this morning," Collett said. "They were worried that I was on it. It's terrible what happened."

The troops were on a flight that arrived about 5 a.m. EST on a daily R&R flight to BWI.

Collett said security around U.S. troops was heightened in Iraq after a "Day of Resistance" was announced on the first day of Ramadan.

He said that after that, information about when helicopters would ferry departing soldiers to the Baghdad airport and the locations the helicopters would fly from was more restricted.

Collett said he wasn't sure if he knew anyone hurt in the attack.

(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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