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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My Interview With a Soldier

This interview was conducted via email with an injured soldier that has had extensive injuries and recovery who has now reenlisted for yet another six years for a cause he believes in.

Hello, my name is Will, my rank is sergeant.

Spree: First of all I would like to thank you very much for your service and for this opportunity to get a first hand view for my readers from a soldier who has been to Iraq and has reenlisted.

Spree: What made you decide to join the military in the first place?

Sgt. Will: It has been a family tradition. Giving the short history.

My Grandfather's middle name was Pershing. My father's was Mac Arthur. I am a JR, and my son's middle name is Franks. For the people who don't know these names look them up in a history book.

My father had seven kids, the first five with his first wife were raised by her after their divorce. He really didn't have much time with them growing up. They lived out in Arizona, and he was in Cleveland Ohio.

However, with my interest in airplanes, he enrolled me in Civil Air Patrol. I was still not even a teenager and was living the military life. Or as close as I could get. I was also a member of the Young Marines, and the Army Explorers.

On my 18th birthday I went to the recruiters office and started my search. I never Joined for College Money or to further my Civilian life. I wanted to serve. At the time "Be All You Can BE" was all I needed to hear. That was almost 11 years ago, and now I'm Army Strong.

Spree: What is your response to the William Arkin controversy where he thought it would be "cute" to refer to our troops as mercenaries?

Sgt. Will: To me, I do find it cute. I wish I made as much as a mercenary. However, to compare any U.S. soldier who follows orders, and has the right to object to any order he feels is unlawful, is just insane. Mercenaries do what they do for money, A soldier does what he does for a cause.

I honestly think He just wanted the publicity. Just like you can tell when a person's acting career is going down the drain. The only time you see them is at a war protest.

Spree: If you don't mind the question, what were your injuries and how were you injured?

Sgt. Will: My injury was a crushing to my left leg. I was in danger of losing it for weeks. But thanks to great Field Medics (Marines), a fast Black Hawk ride, and wonderful Doctors, I still have it, and almost full use of it.

As for how it happened, Well lets just say at the wrong place at the wrong time. That can happen easily when you allow yourself to have a false sense of security.

Spree: I understand from your wife that you chose to reenlist for another 6 years despite your injury....can you explain why?

Sgt. Will: Like I said in the beginning, I just want to serve. For those of you who know about the big reenlistment bonus, I didn't get it. It was started after I reup'ed. With the injury it doesn't affect my duties. I can still do my job, and I won't let others do it for me.

Another reason for my reenlistment is, I now have a lot more experience and can pass it on to my younger soldiers. My goal is to make them better than I am.

Spree: When do you go back to Iraq, if you know?

Sgt. Will: I don't know right now. I keep calling trying to find a unit who will need me. But trust, me as soon as I know my wife will inform you.

Spree: Do you communicate regularly with other members of the military that are in Iraq at the moment? If so, what do they tell you about the new strategy being implemented and conditions on the ground?

Sgt. Will: No. I do talk to them when they get back or I will get forwarded emails from my friend's who are there. When I say "my friends", I mean it. A couple of guys who are over there right now were going to be in our wedding as groomsmen, but they volunteered to go back.

I have not heard anything from Iraq on the new issue. However I have been told the fighting is getting a little rougher. People are coming from all over to fight Americans. I Actually prefer that, rather than them coming to US soil to attack us again.

Spree: What is your take on the new strategy that President Bush laid out recently?

Sgt. Will: It took long enough for it to happen. Now let's give the soldiers more leeway and the ability to protect themselves and the People of Iraq. From what I have seen and heard with the speeches and press conferences. To me it is going to be a big part of this war, and I want to be a part of it.

Spree: Any thoughts on the non binding symbolic resolution that the house recently passed?

Sgt. Will: To be honest, I don't follow the political side of this war now. In the beginning I did. I would watch all I could to know how and why I was going to war. Well now that I have been there and done that, I know for myself.

To hear these people talk about what they think would be better for the people there without living it, just upsets me. These are people who are responsible for the safety and future of all Americans, to include the soldiers in Iraq.

But yet some think it would be best to not send support for the troops already on ground. Then to also start cutting off funding for them as well. It doesn't sound like they have my safety and future in mind, only their future in office.

I just wish people would step back and think before shooting off at the mouth. A withdrawal from Iraq is out of the question. It will only allow the insurgents already there in Iraq to live freely and train anyone who they can force to join.

Then when they are ready we will either go back in, Again! Or point fingers on who is to blame for the next 9-11. I know it may be hard for some people to come up with solutions to help solve and win this war. But if all you can do is to protest, then do it.

That is a right and freedom that I and many others are willing to fight for.

Spree: Can you tell my readers about the Iraqi's? How they view us from your experience?

Sgt. Will: Well Iraq is just like any other place. If you were to go to a mall, you would have most who would hold the door for you and your family. Then you have some who just do their own thing. But then you have a few who would slam the door on you.

During the time I was running missions I always kept my guard up. I tried to keep myself apart form the people. But when I saw a group of kids playing on the side of the road get the attention of some MP's on patrol. To hear them beg for food and water just got to me.

Nothing could really prepare me for what happened when they tossed out a pack of M&M's. The bag came open then the kids were fighting for the pieces on the ground. The ages ranged from fifteen and down. The MP's tried to give out more to make them all happy. But the more they gave out the more kids came.

Before we new it the kids were everywhere. They started going to most of the U.S. vehicles begging for food. It was a growing situation we couldn't deal with. we had to get out of the area. Try doing that at your local park, then tell me what the response of those kids are.

I was lucky enough to be there during the time Saddam was captured. To hear the gunfire thru the day from the locals celebrating, and to hear them cheer and wave to us when we drove thru town is a pride no one can ever take from me.

During my time there I tried to do my part to help the local kids. I bought stuff from them on missions when I could. I have a hand made Iraq flag that hangs on my wall. The stitching is barley holding it together. The stars were made from finger paint. It actually looks nice for a young kid to have made it.

I only gave the kid five bucks. But to let you know at the time, the rate for one American dollar, was one thousand dinar.

Spree: One final question here. If you could say one thing to the President of the United States, right now....what would it be?

Sgt. Will: It has been an honor serving with you as my Commander and Chief, look forward to the next few years Sir.

Spree: Is there anything I have not asked that you would like to address? If so, feel free, it will be added at the end of the interview.

Sgt. Will: The one thing about me is, if all you know about Iraq is what you see or hear on the news I don't really want to hear what your objections are about it. You need to know more than just what the news report. If you truly want more of an insight on how the soldiers live there, ask. Most will tell you how it was or is there.

Some will stretch the reality a little, to make it more interesting. Then few will just tell you want you want to hear. The best way is to see it for yourself. Look at pictures, watch the homemade videos. You should be able to see for yourself and decide truly how you feel about this war. Then we can talk like normal people.

Thanks for your time. God Bless the USA and All Who Support Her!

Spree: Please let me once again say thank you for all you have done for us and for this interview. Anytime you have something to say, you send me a quick email and I will see to it you have a forum.

His answers speak for themselves.