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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bomb Devastates Families Awaiting Soldiers' Arrivals

NEW YORK -- Diane Morgera had gone to sleep secure in the knowledge that her son would be bounding through the door the next morning, on leave from the military.


Instead, she woke to Air Force officers knocking at her door, telling her Airman First Class Peter Morgera, 24, had been killed in a terrorist truck bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.


"I asked, 'Is it possible you're wrong?' ... They said they didn't think so,'' said Morgera, struggling to retain her composure Wednesday as she stood on the steps of her home in Stratham, New Hampshire.


For dozens of American families who learned of the deaths of their loved ones in Tuesday's blast, the timing of the bombing made the horror worse because several victims had been scheduled to return home within a week.


On Thursday, bodies of the 19 victims were to arrive at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.


In Greendale, Wisconsin, the Fennig family had been eagerly awaiting the return of Technical Sergeant Patrick Fennig, who was also killed in the blast.


In Yukon, Oklahoma, Nancy Kitson clutched a letter from her youngest brother and broke down as she described how excited he was about coming home next week. The letter arrived Wednesday, shortly after Kitson learned that her 39-year-old brother, Master Sergeant Kendall Kitson, had been one of the bombing victims.


In addition to the dead, at least 270 Americans were wounded in the worst terrorist blast involving Americans in the Middle East since the 1983 barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 U.S. servicemen.


"When you have a son in the military they can tell you they are anywhere, but you don't really know where they are until they are on your doorstep,'' said Rosemary Caouette from Watertown, Massachusetts, whose nephew, Peter Morgera, was killed in the bombing. "Well, he's coming home, but this is not how he was supposed to come home.''