Louisville Pilot On Third Gulf Tour

By Connie Leonard

(LOUISVILLE, March 25th, 2003, 11:55 a.m.) -- A Louisvillian who received the distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts in the first Persian Gulf war is right in the middle of conflict again. Lt. Colonel Rob Givens, a fighter pilot out of Cannons Air Force Base, is back for his third tour of duty. WAVE 3's Connie Leonard recently sat down with his proud parents.

Lt. Colonel Rob Givens keeps in touch with his family via email as frequently as possible. Most times, he keeps it light. His father, Roy, recently shared an excerpt with us. "I am tired but OK -- I am finally losing some weight."

A moment of humor in the face of danger. Roy Givens would expect nothing less from his son, Rob, a who is now serving with the 524th fighter squadron.

Rob tries to stay strong for his parents, as well as his wife Carla, and their two boys -- 6-year-old Morgan and 4-year-old Mitchell.

You may remember Rob as the talented pilot with the Air Force Thunderbirds. In fact, he once showed our own Jackie Hays his skill with the F-16. Now he's back in the cockpit for his country. Again.

TV footage shows Robs' squadron taking out targets in Iraq almost daily. They're pictures his mom Anna could sometimes do without.

"Every time something like this happens I think, oh no, not again -- let someone else go."

This isn't the first time Rob has dropped bombs in Iraq. He was among the first in battle in the Persian Gulf war, and he went back for a tour of duty several months later. This time he's second in command, providing air support for the ground forces. But his previous war experience doesn't bring much comfort to his family.

"I have a lot of fears," Anna says. "I have trouble sleeping at night. I just think about him all the time."

They tell themselves it's a life Rob loves. He's an outstanding officer born to fly. But he's always a son first.

Roy says the family tries "to just take it one day at a time -- that's all we can do. One day at a time."

The Givens have a farm where they usually stay at...but, they can't receive rob's e-mail there so...they are staying in town. They just returned from a visit to Clovis, New Mexico to see their daughter-in-law and their grandchildren.

They say when this conflict is over Rob is hoping to become a squadron commander and eventually move his family back to Louisville.

Online Reporter: Connie Leonard

Online Producer: Michael Dever