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A soldier’s story

 

Scared for our jobs.


Click here to see a complete listing of our soldier's adventures in Iraq.

Editor’s Note: These are the thoughts of a gay soldier — a North Carolina native — who has been deployed to Iraq. Because of the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy, he must remain anonymous.


Over the past year I hope I have shed some light on this war and given you a perspective on what Iraq has been like.

I have traveled all over the country recently — back to the Palace in Baghdad and will be back there again this week. Afterwards I’m headed north — though for security reasons I can’t say where. I dread this trip — it will be the most dangerous trip so far. We’ll fly to an undisclosed location and then convoy to our final point.

It’s a rough trek of over 30 miles by vehicle. All of us will be armored up and ready to go with a full-authorized battle load.

I’m not scared, but I do have some trepidation about this trip. But I suppose that’s a good thing — it’ll keep me on my toes.

Over my travels, I have seen the poverty, and destitution of the Iraqi people, which is still rampant. The money that is being spent over here would floor you. The coalition is doing some wonderful things here, but the country is flushing money into issues that won’t fix themselves for years to come. It took Europe nearly 25 years to stabilize after WWII in some areas and it’s not going to happen here in Iraq — no matter what we do — for a long time, or until the people here decide to make it happen.

I’m happy to be coming home soon — but it saddens me to think that this tour of duty is coming to an end. It’s a chapter of my life that I will never forget. The sights, sounds and smells will resonate with me forever, conjuring up many images even now I’d like to forget.

I will miss the friends and colleagues I have worked with for over a year, my Iraqi counterparts who I work with regularly and my interpreters.

To be honest, I’m a bit nervous about coming home. What has become normal for me here is dramatically different from my life at home. I’m different for this experience — for the better in many ways, and I’m thankful. Psychologically I think I’m fine.

Who knows, really? I guess we’ll figure that out for sure after I’ve been home awhile.

— Reporting from Iraq,
your friend and soldier from Charlotte


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