Monday, November 05, 2007

Scammers tell military mom her son is injured in Iraq

GASTON, SC (WIS) - A military mother recently got news that her son was critically injured in Iraq. After days of not knowing if her son was alive or dead, she says it all turned out to be a hoax.

Andrew Smith is serving in Iraq, a member of the Army Special Forces.

A couple of weeks ago, his mother, Tina, got a call from her youngest son, the call no military family wants to get.

"He said that our youngest son Andrew's truck had been hit by a RPG and was in critical condition in Germany," Tina Smith said.

The weird thing, according to Tina, is that Andrew's immediate family didn't get the call. A man who said he was with the military called Andrew's aunt in Louisiana.

"He said his name was Sgt. Somers," said Tina.

And that's pretty much all Tina Smith knows. Scared and confused, Tina says she called the Red Cross.

"They explained to us that the military would be the ones to get in touch with us. His parents, not anybody else. And unfortunately nine out of ten of these phone calls were hoaxes," Tina told WIS News 10.

But she didn't know for sure, and that didn't give Smith or her husband any piece of mind.

"We were going through hell. It was really bad," Smith says.

She and her husband went two days without hearing their son's voice, not knowing if he was dead or alive.

Then on Monday a prayer was answered. The phone rang, and it was Andrew's.

"I couldn't talk to him. All I could do was cry, just to hear his voice. He promised me he was ok," Smith said.

So who made the initial call? Is there really a Sgt. Somers? The Red Cross is trying to get to the bottom of that.

Smith has a message for military families everywhere, especially those receiving calls about the well-being of their sons or daughters.

"Make sure that you know the military will make the phone call or they told us they will pull up in your yard and won't contact anyone but the immediate family members," Smith says.

WIS News 10 tried calling the Red Cross to see if there were any other cases similar to Tina's, but no one returned the call before the story aired.

A spokeswoman at Fort Jackson did say that this is the first time she's heard of anything like this.

Reported by Trey Paul


I can't imagine who would do something like this. I don't blame the mom for being scared. Even though I KNOW what the procedure is for these sorts of things I would still be worried sick until I actually talked to my son.

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