Friends Lend Full Support

By Susan Nolan

Hampton Union, Friday, March 21, 2003

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

The word is "support."

That's the watchword from friends and families of New Hampshire's military men and women who have been called up to war.

Chris Galipeau of Hampton, whose home is draped with an enormous American flag, comes from a family of Marines.

"It is a very harrowing thing to deal with," he said. "No one wants to go to war. The people who don't want to go the most are the people who have friends and relatives and brothers in the military."

But there comes a time when you have to believe that the government knows what it's doing.

"You've got to believe in the commander in chief and Colin Powell," he said.

"There's no way that Colin Powell, who has towering integrity, would back and support something he didn't feel 100 percent justified in," he said.

"There's no way that our leaders would send the men and women who wear uniforms and protect our freedom into harm's way unless the threat was imminent," said Galipeau.

Tim Sullivan of Stratham feels much the same. When his friend and neighbor Jeff Gallo, a lieutenant colonel in the United States Marine Corps, was called to duty in January, it was a surprise.

"I think on New Year's Day or the next day he got a FedEx package," said Sullivan. That package included Gallo's orders. He had six days before departure.

He is currently in Kuwait, and his friends have received e-mails from him two or three times a week, said Sullivan. They received a photo early this week of Gallo and retired Army Lt. Col. Oliver North, a syndicated radio show host and former Reagan administration Iran-Contra figurehead.

But war with Iraq has now begun and those e-mails may stop coming for a while.

Gallo's neighbors and friends are keeping a watchful eye on his family while the father is gone.

"We're just fully supportive of Jeff personally and his mission and the president and all we want is for him to come home to a big welcome back party some time soon," said Sullivan.

"It's got to be hard," he said. "I'm home sleeping in a bed in Stratham and my buddy's in a tent in a sandstorm. I can't imagine what it's like."

"We just want to support the troops right now and to be 100 percent behind them," said Steve Bishop of Greenland.

Bishop's son James, a 1990 Middlebury College cum laude graduate, is a language specialist with the United States Army, serving as a sergeant with a military intelligence unit. Sgt. James Bishop was sent to Kuwait a month ago.

The younger Bishop is fluent in Polish, Serbo-Croatian, and Arabic.

The Bishops have not heard from their son since he left Germany a month ago.

They hang a blue-star flag in the window of their Greenland home, indicating they are a family with a son serving during war time. They are awaiting James' safe return.

"It's emotional and it washes you out," said Bishop.

"He said he might be attached to a special forces unit and go right behind them," he said. "He has told us that he's going to be involved in the interrogation of prisoners and that he will be going into Baghdad."