News from Baghdad

A small spot to describe to a certain extent what it is like for the soldiers here in Iraq. I must remain anonymous as there may be some who would view this as an "official" posting, however, it is not. Just some personal views on the politics and public views in this war that has been to oftentimes tainted by the sensationalism of the media.

Name:
Location: Home, United States

I enjoy my job to the fullest, regardless of the political climate at any particular time. My family and my soldiers are the central focal point of my existence as well as my religious viewpoints.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

6 October 2004 (Post 2)

Since I have had so many people respond to my postings here in the past few days, I feel that it is time for you to learn a little bit about me, without, of course, giving too much away about myself. Those of you who read this and do know me personally will glean little from this, I trust, if you truly do know me.

I am a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army, a veteran of nearly 10 years. I grew up primarily in Iowa and Missouri, spending a few years with my family in Ireland. My father is a missionary, and we left for Ireland in 1992. I wholeheartedly enjoyed my time there. I have only been back once, however, much to my own chagrin. I made a couple of friends there, who share my surname, and they are friends for life. I miss everyone there, and I really miss the country. Any of you who may be contemplating ever visting the country, I wholeheartedly recommend you going.

I am the oldest of five children, three of my siblings currently remaining in Ireland and one, my youngest brother currently attending college in Florida.

I was married in 1997 to a wonderful woman, who, through thick and thin (mostly thick cause sometimes I can be rather dense), has stood beside me throughout my career and her daughters have children of their own, of which at least one, the oldest, has me wrapped around her little finger. One of her sons is currently in Korea after he joined the Army last year. Her youngest, which still lives at home, is currently in the ROTC program in high school and presently seems to be doing rather well. Seems my wife will have many many grey hairs over the next few years with the current political climate as her son in law, myself, her oldest son, and seemingly her youngest, will all be in the military at the same time. Yes, her youngest already has designs on joining the Army upon his graduation from high school.

I joined the Army in 1995 and my first tour of duty was at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. My primary job was transportation at that time, which, in itself was not bad, but my heart was always with the combat arms portion of the military, whether it be infantry, armor (tanks), artillery or engineers. When I re-enlisted after my first 3 years, I became an armor crewman on the M1 series of tanks. I have never regretted this decision, however rough the days may have been at certain times. I have spent my time as a tanker in Germany and currently at Fort Hood, Texas.

Currently I plan on leaving Fort Hood upon my redeployment back to civilization and hopefully train the next generation of young soldiers as a Drill Sergeant at Fort Knox, Kentucky. I enjoy being around soldiers, passing on what I know, and molding the next leaders of this great institution. Upon my completion of my tenure there, I hope to have my own platoon, back in a line unit, wherever that may be.

Now, onto my views of today...yes there are more from earlier. The news media is pointing out that there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction. I do not disagree with this assessment, however, neither did Afghanistan. We invaded Afghanistan because they attacked our country over three years ago. Currenlty, many of the fighters we are encountering here in theater, either did or currently have ties with Al Qaida or other terrorist organizations, many of them being former members of the Ba'ath Party, Saddam's political "group". If there is one thing that I have learned in my life, is to study history. Learn from other's mistakes. Hence, the 6 Day War, waged by Israel. If they had not had the foresight to execute preemptive strikes against their enemies, I think that Israel would not be an autonomous nation today. My personal feelings on Iraq are thus: if in some small way I can prevent what happened on September 11th, 2001 from ever happening again, then I will do what it takes, walk any distance, fight any foe and make any friend to do so. Do I feel that the United States should go to war with every country that harbors terrorists? No, for then we would NEVER complete this task. However, if an example is made of a few, perchance other countries will follow suit and voice thier detestation of terror and terror tactics and countries that harbor these criminals will cease their sanctuary. It pains me every day to see the casualty reports that have become a part of the headlines, for those are my brethren in arms and could just as well be one of my soldiers. It would tear me apart to know or see one of the soldiers in my unit not come home with us. We have sustained casualties, however, none that took a life, thank God. However, every day that we leave this camp, there is a chance that one of us may not come back here. Remember us in your prayers and NEVER forget those who have fallen. They fell for YOU. Each and every American owes these young men a deep debt of gratitude that THEY are not here doing this job. The freedoms that every American enjoys whether it be freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, freedom to keep and bear arms, all of them are thanks to a soldier, whether it be Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, Ulysses S. Grant, John J. Pershing, Sergeant York, General Eisenhower, Sergeant Audie Murphy, General Norman Schwartzkoph, or the current leaders and soldiers, every one of the men who fought, sacrificed and died since 1775, be it infantryman, cavalryman, artilleryman, or support soldier, each one who spilled his blood, lost a home or a family fought for YOU, the American citizen. It is not about expansionism or "enlarging the empire". It is about securing the very basic precepts upon which our country was founded.

In the next few days, I hope to compile a few photographs of the country here, my unit and my men. In some small way, these pictures may supplement my sometimes inadequate writing capabilities and in others speak a story in themselves as you all know the old addage, "a picture speaks a thousand words".

Again, I thank you for your time in reading these posts. It means a great deal to me to know that my message is reaching someone. I wish to sincerely thank those of Operation Gratitude, all the Morale, Welfare and Support organizations, Jim Compton, my family, and you the American citizen for supporting us soldiers, and bringing a smile to each and every one of us when we recieve a package, letter from a schoolchild or just a general note to say "thank you" and that you are behind us. Thank you. God bless.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay,

I was just reading your postings and am wondering why you are not mentioning any women? There are female soldiers over there too! They should be recognized as a vital part of this war also. Wake up! It isn't just a man's world anymore!

12:15 AM  
Blogger Tony Fisk said...

Hi Jay,

I don't agree with the way in which the 'War on Terror' is being pursued (seems to me that the script owes more to Bin Laden than to Bush). However, my quarrel is with the policy, *not* the people whose job it is to implement it. Yours is a difficult and often thankless task. I appreciate that; and I appreciate that there are people willing to do it. I appreciate, also, that the vast majority of those people carry out their duties both professionally and as best they can.

If you've ever seen Ken Burns' history of the Civil War, you won't need telling that your 'blog is continuing a fine tradition of soldiers' personal narrative. Keep it up!

3:35 AM  
Blogger None said...

"Jay,

I was just reading your postings and am wondering why you are not mentioning any women? There are female soldiers over there too! They should be recognized as a vital part of this war also. Wake up! It isn't just a man's world anymore!"

Not to be dense, but I don't think he's required to talk about them, because one, this is a personal account of day to day life in Iraq as a soldier, not a documentary, nor is it a political statement.

No one's questioning women and their service at all, so why are you making it an issue?

5:46 AM  
Blogger melissa said...

Hello Jay, First of all I would like to thank you for this website. Our soldiers are in my prayers every night. I think our President has made an awful mistake. When you hear of people back home protesting the Iraq war, it's not that they are against our soldiers, it all about Bush's policies there. God Bless all of you who are fighting this war.

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not making it an issue but if he is going to talk about this war and the lives that have been sacrificed, he should include women. They have made sacrifices too!

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! When will your next installment be? Wanting to know more.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why should he include woman in his views? They are not the ones out there getting shot at on a daily basis or nearly having their whole squad wiped out by an RPG. Yes women in the military do make sacrifices, but not on the combat line like these soldiers do sometimes for days on end. Wake up! And think about this one...Where would you put a woman on a combat line? SAD TO SAY ...but she would be somewhere shaking in her DCU's while the MEN went after the bad guys! And I can say this I'm a woman myself...

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There have been women shot at in this war. There have been women that have died also. There isn't a set combat line over there. The whole place is a war zone. I, for one, would love to be able to go back over and kick some butt. I think some women would disagree with you saying they are shaking in their DCU's. I am sure there are some women going the extra mile and probably quite a few men that are shaking in their DCU's.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, well no one said women hadn't been shot at or killed! But do you see women in combat arms. NO! Why is that? Statistics show women are not cut out to be in combat(brains are wired differently). Has a woman ever been in conbat arms? NO! not unless they are in a support command and they don't go out and hunt down the bad guys like the male soldiers do! And since you have now opened the whole country up as a battlefield, then maybe we should send some of these lazy butted women who sit in offices behind desk out to find some bad guys.."MAYBE THEY WOULD CATCH THEM ALL AND OUR TROOPS COULD COME HOME!

11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Sarge....
Don't let the comments get you down, when people who make comments that say they support the troops but don't support the War, well they are speaking from the left side of there heart and in reality don't support you or your fellow soldiers...as for the words about women being shot at or killed, the last time I looked it does not say American Female Soldier, Marine Female, Navy Female....it is Singular meaning all, just like we are all Americans, but again those who say otherwise are speaking from a very ignorant point of view and again don't really support what you are doing there anyway!!!
Just know that there are more who do support you and what our Country is doing, and what the President is doing than those who so call themselves Supporters of the Armed Service's of America! May God Bless You and all your Buddies that are making U.S. Proud!
Thank You.
Peter

1:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay, I like to imagine that all our troops are like you. You sound like a thoughtful and honorable person - doing to the best of your abilities in the situation you find yourself.
I'm not sure what you meant by the necessity of a pre-emptive war. In legal jargon, a pre-emptive war is illegal.
To attack because we believe in an imminent attack from the enemy is legal, and I think you'd agree is right. That's what Israel did.
To attack because we believe in - this is a new one - an "imminent threat", is nonsense.
When Bush decided to attack Iraq, he did it without enough proof from intelligence indicating an imminent attack from Iraq.
There are other reasons given to justify attacking Iraq, but Israel's situation is not the same as what we had. So it can't be said that because Israel was right in that war, then it follows that the Iraq war is also right.
However, we all agree we need to do whatever will prevent another 9/11. I have to disagree, I'm sorry, with the timing of the Iraqi war. We really could have waited a little longer, like after securing Afghanistan better first. Saddam, contrary to what the White House said, was contained well enough for the time being, according to our intelligence.
Thus, I truly believe that we did not have the resources to tackle a problem as big as Iraq. I so wish very much that you guys out there had more help. I so wish the Iraqi security force would be trained and reliable enough to relieve some of the pressures on our troops. I'm very glad that you are finding things like the little girl that helps sustain you during this very difficult time.

11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jay, I like to imagine that all our troops are like you. You sound like a thoughtful and honorable person - doing to the best of your abilities in the situation you find yourself.
I'm not sure what you meant by the necessity of a pre-emptive war. In legal jargon, a pre-emptive war is illegal.
To attack because we believe in an imminent attack from the enemy is legal, and I think you'd agree is right. That's what Israel did.
To attack because we believe in - this is a new one - an "imminent threat", is nonsense.
When Bush decided to attack Iraq, he did it without enough proof from intelligence indicating an imminent attack from Iraq.
There are other reasons given to justify attacking Iraq, but Israel's situation is not the same as what we had. So it can't be said that because Israel was right in that war, then it follows that the Iraq war is also right.
However, we all agree we need to do whatever will prevent another 9/11. I have to disagree, I'm sorry, with the timing of the Iraqi war. We really could have waited a little longer, like after securing Afghanistan better first. Saddam, contrary to what the White House said, was contained well enough for the time being, according to our intelligence.
Thus, I truly believe that we did not have the resources to tackle a problem as big as Iraq. I so wish very much that you guys out there had more help. I so wish the Iraqi security force would be trained and reliable enough to relieve some of the pressures on our troops. I'm very glad that you are finding things like the little girl that helps sustain you during this very difficult time.

11:33 AM  
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