War photo shows Jackson soldier in Baghdad

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Monday brought a belated Easter gift to a Jackson family who learned via an image on the Internet that their soldier son was alive and well in Baghdad.

U.S. Army Spc. Matt Britt, 23, was shown in an Associated Press photograph posted Monday by photographer Dusan Vranic. Britt is the son of Jim and Carolyn Britt.

Britt said the photo relieved her worries about her son's safety to an extent.

"It was kind of a down Easter for us because a couple of people at church had heard from their sons and we had not," Britt said. "But we knew that as of Monday the 22, he was OK."

In the photo, Britt is shown holding his rifle and patrolling near a hotel looking for a rogue shooter.

"He looks fine and looks like there's nothing wrong with him," Britt said. "Of course, it's still dangerous job -- we know that much."

The family's last contact with him was Feb. 15, when Britt told his mother he was being moved from Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait to an unknown location.

'Kind of a relief'

"I was beginning to think no one knew where he was -- even the Army," she said "It was kind of a relief after all that time."

Britt is a 1997 graduate of Jackson High School. After attending Missouri Southern University in Joplin, Mo., where he studied theater set design and lighting, Britt entered the military in October 2001 and joined the Army's psychological operations units -- the same divisions that have since used air-dropped leaflets and radio broadcasts to persuade Iraqi soldiers to surrender and citizens to cooperate with Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His brother, Chris Britt, is an Army captain stationed in South Korea. The family learned on the same day that he had been given his own command.

"It was an exciting day to have both pieces of good news," his mother said.

mwells@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 160

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