East Texas Soldier Fronts For President's Visit

It was the best kept Thanksgiving secret: President Bush's visit to the troops in Iraq.  The First Armored Divisions' Lieutenant Colonel, Mark Olinger was the man responsible for keeping the secret and informing the media after the fact.

"Every time we see pictures from there we look to see if he may have gotten into the scene somewhere," said Olingers father-in-law, John Martin. The career army officers family, who live in Mount Vernon, were only told to watch Good Morning America to see what was about to transpire, amazed to see Mark talking to reporters, but relieved he was doing well.

"When they're in the possibility of constant danger it's very stressful," said the officer's wife Sandra Olinger. Olinger's wife of 12 years is his biggest fan, and says it's what he was born to do. His family firmly supports his commitment to the reconstruction of Iraq.

"After 911 we knew we had to do something to make this country safe. Yes it is a source of pride for us," said mother-in-law, Jane Martin. Olinger has been assigned to the First Armored Division in Iraq since April.

Bob Hallmark, Channel 7 News.