Iraq war stirs up variety of opinions on Kaua’i

Worried father Robely Lovell, Sr. would trade places with son in Gulf — LIHU’E – Robely Lovell, Sr., 47, of Anahola knows from his Navy training that surviving a chemical or biological weapon attack is unlikely for the poisons are nearly impossible to detect, and exposure likely means death.

He now worries about such attacks hitting his son, Marine Lance Cpl. Chauncey Lovell, 22, who is serving in the Persian Gulf region of the Iraq War, working with a unit that loads bombs and other ordnance onto Harrier Jump Jets and other attack aircraft.

Chauncey’s latest known post is Al Jahar, Kuwait, but his unit may be in Iraq and the young Kaua’i man could be in harm’s way. He’s been in the Marines for less than a year.

“I’d actually rather go there and die for myself before I would want something to happen to him,” said Robely, who works as a Wackenhut security guard at the state courthouse and is used to wearing a uniform. In his 22 years in the Navy, he and his family saw the world, he said, with overseas assignments in the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Panama, Guatemala, Cuba and the Persian Gulf.

His other son, Robely Lovell, Jr., 25, is a Marine corporal stationed in Okinawa. He’s been in the Marines for almost five years, and until he found out his girlfriend is pregnant was a typical infantryman, probably wishing he was to be sent to Kuwait or Iraq to get in on some of the action, his father said, and his pending fatherhood has smoothed some of his gung-ho nature.

The last time Robely heard from Chauncey was a phone call from San Diego, with word that he was shipping out for Kuwait.

He gave his son a “pep talk” on how to correctly put on a gas mask.

Now, through some sleepless nights, he most dreads receiving the “we regret to inform you” call that means his son is a casualty of war.

“As far as worried, I do worry, I’d just hate to get that call,” he said.

“I hope everything turns out all right,” for his sons and for many other Kaua’i boys and girls in the Marines and likely in the Gulf, he said.

Both of his Marine sons love their jobs, Robely. He joined the Navy when he was 17.

Chauncey Lovell’s wife, Cathy, and their daughter Chelsea, 18 months old, are staying with her parents on O’ahu, where she attends college. They lived together in San Diego before Chauncey shipped out, and came home following his deployment.

Like many other people, Robely finds himself tuning into CNN whenever he has a spare moment. But, he thinks the war is more intense than shown by the images allowed to be broadcast, he said.

Of his 22 years in the Navy, the most memorable event was taking part in the evacuation of Saigon in 1974 and 1975, aboard the USS Hancock. He was also stationed aboard the USS Ranger in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at or 245-3681 (ext. 224).


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