While serving in the Army, I deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Global War on Terror (GWoT). I was a medic in a unit that carried out missions throughout both countries, giving me the opportunity to see much of what was taking place on the ground.
After separating from the Army in July of 2006, I was disappointed with the antiwar sentiment of some in the American public and many in the media. From what I had seen first-hand during my combat deployments, it seemed as though the focus remained heavily on why the war started, rather than reporting on the progress and the current situation abroad. As I searched for likeminded veterans that had similar experiences, I came across the Vets For Freedom (VFF) website and signed up. Since joining VFF, I have been given the opportunity to serve my country as an advocate for those who continue to fight the GWoT.[# More #]
At the beginning of 2007, when the decision to change strategy in Iraq and the surge was announced, I was uncertain of what to think. My combat experience was with Special Operations, making me uncertain of how a larger military force would affect what I had seen; however, I continued to trust that the military leaders that knew the conditions on the ground and understood the intelligence they were receiving. I supported the surge. Last month, we witnessed the lowest number of U.S. casualties since the 2003 invasion. Iraq is clearly taking ownership of its security, economic and political systems. From what I have observed, the surge has worked.
As I embed with the U.S. Army in the northern region of Iraq, I hope that I am able to report on the progress of both the nation of Iraq and the American Soldier. There are many changes that have taken place since my last deployment to Iraq at the end of 2005, which I intend to investigate. However, in this region, the reconciliation that is taking place seems to be of particular interest. I look forward to reporting first-hand this defining period of Iraqi and world history.
Those of us who have served our nation in combat have a greater responsibility to our people and our communities. We have the obligation, through our understanding of freedom’s price, to give back to our communities by being productive, responsible citizens. It is because of my belief in this principle that I will continue, no matter the role in my community, to promote issues of meaning.