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Paratroopers practice accepting POWs

CHAMPION MAIN, Kuwait—Paratroopers from the 2nd battalion of the 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment split into two teams Tuesday—Americans and Iraqis—to practice accepting enemy prisoners of war. The run-through came a couple of days after Marines were killed and wounded during a surrender ruse by Iraqi forces.

"I was here for the last war," said Staff Sgt. Arthur Jones, a 34-year-old Richmond, Va., native. "And they just came out and surrendered."

Staff Sgt. Frederick Beckman, 27, of Greenfield, Iowa, chimed in that the rules had since changed.

"Now, apparently there are dirty tricks," said Beckman, who played the Iraqi leader. Jones led the "American" squad.

Beckman chose not to try anything sneaky when Jones' team searched them, cuffed their hands with "zip-ties" and marched them to a detention area.

Would Jones have done anything differently if he were dealing with real Iraqi prisoners?

"He wouldn't have been as gentle," Beckman said.


(Mark Johnson reports for The Charlotte Observer.)


(c) 2003, Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.