Grandmother watches and worries as war wages

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 23, 2003

&uot;We haven't heard from him in about seven or eight weeks," said Ann Adams, referring to her 24-year-old grandson, David Heighton.

As American troops approach Baghdad for their next military objective, the Pedro grandmother is looking to the Lord for strength and guidance.

"We've got him on the prayer list at church," she said.

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For Adams and the rest of Heighton's family, the last few weeks have been filled with worry and uncertainty.

"We don't know anything, really," she said. "He's in the Marines and went over on the U.S.S. Rushmore."

Heighton, a South Point native, was scheduled to finish his four-year tour in October. But the war in Iraq has put any discharge plans on hold, for now.

Adams said the family believes Heighton is somewhere near the front lines.

"He's right up front," she said. "It is worrisome."

Heighton is a tank mechanic with the 1st Marine Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 3rd Platoon.

The Rock Hill graduate is the son of Kiplyn and David Heighton, both of South Point.

After a somewhat troubled youth, Adams said D.R. (short for David Roy) was looking for a new direction.

"He found a new life in the Marines," Adams said. "It's made a man of our him."

The young Heighton is following a family tradition of military service. His father served two tours of duty in Vietnam, Adams said.

The previous generation also served its country.

Adams said her first husband, who was lost at sea during his service, and her second husband both served in military.

"We're all Army, Navy and Marines," she said.

In addition to worrying about Heighton, Adams also prays for another relative who is deployed. Her granddaughter's husband, David Wiseman, serves in the U.S. Army.

"We've got two to pray about now," Adams said.

Fortunately, for now, he is serving away from the frontlines, Adams said.

Now when she is not working -- which helps briefly get her mind off the war -- Adams said she keeps close watch on television accounts of the battles.

Doing so, she said, helps her keep up with where her grandson might be and how the troops are progressing.

"I just want to see them winning," she said. "It's all that is on TV, (but) my husband, he can't watch it."

"I think a lot of innocent people are going to be killed," she said. "I'm worried about them. I don't want to see them get hurt. (But) I pray that God will get a hold of old Saddam and get him out."

Still, despite her belief that the war effort is well intentioned, Adams still cannot help but worry.

"When one gets killed, you just sit on needles and wait and see if they knock at your door," she said. "Hopefully, God will hold him up and keep his arms around him."

Kevin Cooper is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1445 ext. 12 or by e-mail to