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Soldier’s Letters

Soldier’s Letters

It is the dream of America that we fight for…It is our hope, it is our being and it is our blood.  Though men and women pass each day, and our feet grow tired of long hours standing guard or performing our duties, it is the dream we press on for each day.  What would seem like a bundle of misfits in today’s society, are the first line of defense and the first impression on the world of our commonly held dream. The dream of freedom is paradoxical, we want it and we want to give to everyone else, greed has no presence in its ranks.  Live it.  Be it.  And pass it along.

Lance Corporal Joshua.  USMC. Unknown deployment.  September 2006

I truly believe that a nation without a military would crumble and (without citizens who share your views) we would see no reason to exist.  Our presence out here will make a lot of rich businessmen and politicians richer; however, I look at the positive side and think of a logical reason why we’re here.  We’re here because America is the ‘Super Power’ and great power comes with great responsibility, to our people and to those who need us.  War and conflict will always exist.  It is our nature as humans to fight for what we believe in.  If we don’t fight for the existence of our beliefs as a nation, we’d become nothing more than savages.

God Bless and Semper Fi, Napoleon.  Unknown rank and deployment, USMC.  October, 2006

We do our jobs over here, so the fight stays over here.  We as Marines want this more than anything: to keep everyone back home safe.  You are right again when you say we defend the right of everyone back home to pretty much do whatever they want.  We as Marines know this and we are proud of it.  We hear and see it every day on the news.  People want more rights, complain about this and that, and not even an inkling of a thought as to how good they have it.  We come to these third world countries seeing people so happy to see us.  They know we will bring them food, water, medicine, and supplies.  Things we take for granted so much in our own beloved country – as well as freedom.  You don’t realize it until you see third country nationals and see how much they want that freedom.  Freedom to pursue their dreams, which we as Americans just take for granted.

I myself have left a wife at home who supports me everyday even though this is my second deployment in the last two years.  I am grateful for her every day of my life.

Sergeant Jason, USMC, describes his deployment as ‘in the field.’  November, 2006

One nicest things you can do for the next soldier you see is to simply shake his or her hand and say ‘thank you.’  I know how good that makes me feel.

Sergeant First Class, Michael, USA.  Kandahar, Afghanistan.  September 2006

I truly believe that a nation without a military would crumble and (without citizens who share your views) we would see no reason to exist.  Our presence out here will make a lot of rich businessmen and politicians richer; however, I look at the positive side and think of a logical reason why we’re here.  We’re here because America is the ‘Super Power’ and great power comes with great responsibility, to our people and to those who need us.  War and conflict will always exist.  It is our nature as humans to fight for what we believe in.  If we don’t fight for the existence of our beliefs as a nation, we’d become nothing more than savages.

God Bless and Semper Fi, Napoleon.  Unknown rank and deployment, USMC.  October, 2006

Despite the news reports back home, the U.S. is being very successful here in Iraq.  Although the news reports are accurate in reporting the number of civilian deaths here, please understand that killing civilians is the only option the enemy has in hoping to defeat the U.S. in Iraq.  The challenge we face is training enough Iraqi security forces to stop the killing themselves before American forces are withdrawn.  If American forces are pulled out before the Iraqis are prepared to take over, then our efforts in Iraq will have been wasted.  It is my hope that the American people will have the strength and the patience to allow our Armed Forces to complete the job we started in 2003.  A stable, secure, prosperous and democratic Iraq/Afghanistan will have the same effect on the Middle East that a stable, secure, prosperous and democratic Japan had on the Far East following WWII.

You have my word as the team leader for MTT 3/4 that my Marines will continue to perform our duties in a manner that will be worthy of your pride in our efforts.  Semper Fi.

Captain Sean, USMC, Iraq. October, 2006

This is, unfortunately, a dirty, nasty war and every bit of assistance and support from home is worth its weight in gold.  I am an advisor to an Iraqi infantry battalion engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the city of Fallujah.  We live with them in a “fort” in the city.  In plain English, our job is to help them become a modern, well-trained army.  To do this, we go on patrol, ambushes, etc. with them on a daily basis.  Our unit of 11 soldiers has already had one humvee destroyed in combat.  Fortunately, none of my men was injured.  Our “fort” is regularly attacked by small arms, RPG (rocket propelled grenades) and mortar fire.

We want to hear about home, to remind ourselves that life goes on, that home is still there.  What you find boring and routine, we long for and wish for.  It is also a sign to us that we are doing the right thing, fighting for the safety of our friends, neighbors and loved ones.

Major (name withheld by editor), USA, Fallujah, Iraq. December 2006.  Killed in action, January, 2007.

I know I am not supposed to reveal or talk about my politics.  But let me just say this: I would not even walk across the street to see Jane Fonda ripped apart by wild dogs.

Rank, deployment and name withheld.  USMC.  January 2007

I’m deployed down to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, until August.  For down time, I snorkel, run/work out and play hoops with some of the guys I work with.  I left my wife and two daughters behind in Virginia, so any correspondence from the states is greatly appreciated.  Knowing that Americans are able to go about their lives safely makes it all worthwhile for us.

Kevin (rank unknown).  USMC.  Cuba, March 2007.

On the other hand, my son thinks that it’s cool that I’m here.  He keeps writing to me asking if I’ve shot anyone yet (he’s 10) and has made me promise to tell him if I do.  I told him that for me to shoot someone they have to be shooting at me and I could do without that.  His response was that I better aim well and have backup just in case.

It is really hot here now.  We are averaging about 115 every day.  I didn’t know that I could sweat so much.  Surprisingly, morale is pretty good despite the heat.  We are extremely busy and almost halfway through our deployment.  The Marines and Sailors continue to amaze me with their dedication and resilience.  We have lost two Marines to date.  One to an IED and another to a sniper.  The Marines just keep going.  They know that the mission doesn’t stop and they continue to do what they know must be done.  Every time I start to get a little down, all I have to do is get out and see them and they unfailingly inspire me and lift my spirits.

My husband had his retirement ceremony on the 11th.  I got to watch via a video teleconference.  Which was great, but harder on my kids than I thought it was going to be.  As soon as they saw me they started to cry.  It was rough having to end it, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Sergeant Major Melanie, USMC.  Iraq.  April and May 2007

My job is so easy, it’s like a soap opera!!  Joe (editor’s note: her husband) has been going out on missions with a group of guys. They take interpreters, a K9 team, Iraqi police, and about 10 army guys.  Joe is the medic for the group.  They chase down the bad guys from the black list that they have received from intel.  They have done quite an impressive job hunting down and capturing these bad men.  Joe has pics from where 2 of the bad men were shot because they had weapons and they raised them, as if to shoot.  Joe says that they shoot more dogs than anything.  The dogs are wild, and have been known to bite US soldiers.  It’s an interesting thing he is doing.. he enjoys it, but I will be happy when the mission is over (hopefully just a few more days for him; he’s been doing it for about 2 weeks).  Their old medic should be coming back.  Joe was supposed to be just filling in.

SGT ‘Jen’, NG NG FORSCOM, USA, Iraq, July 2008

“Never forget those who have died, and never forgive those who killed them”.

SFC ‘Jim’, A Troop, 7-10 CAV Combat Outpost Ghost, Iraq, June 2008

I completely understand that many people inside the United States not only support the troops, but support the war effort we are engaged in. While I can empathize with the sentiments of some that diplomacy is the answer to all problems, history has shown this not to be the case (ala Neville Chamberlain).  I firmly believe that the foe we face today (and that we will probably face for a long time in the future) is one that defies reason outside of the maniacal religious fanaticism, they lack any nation state for us to use traditional diplomacy or military action against. That being said, the fact that this war will be very difficult doesn’t change the fact that this is both a just and necessary war. I think if most Americans were able to see what life is like in Iraq they would agree that pacifying the situation here is a necessity if we wish to maintain our safety and way of life at home.  “The plain truth; the enemy has never been killed by a football or softball, that has always been the task of a skilled, educated and trained warrior.”

Captain ‘T.J.’ Iraq, March, 2009

People who have not served in the military often don’t understand.  All of us who serve have a great sense of pride for this country.  One of my best friends told me she doesn’t even think about us being at war.  Sad, but true and I do realize there are a lot of people out there like that.  That’s o.k.  This is my job and I love it.  I love just about every aspect of being a Marine; what we do, the people, the training.  Its fun for me and it gives me a great sense of pride.  The only bad part is having to leave your family occasionally.

Sergeant Julie, Afghanistan, May 2009

I agree with your statement that the average US Citizen is blissfully ignorant of how fortunate we are, how radically different other countries are, and how tenuous are freedoms are at times.  There are bad people in the world that want to either assimilate us into their ideology or kill us…neither are preferable for me.  I am proud to be part of an all volunteer force and am continually impressed by the tenacity of young (compared to me at 35) service members.

Captain “Patrick”, USA, Iraq, July 2009

Few appreciate the liberties we have and recognize that the blood of patriots built and preserve our Republic.  Too many seem willing to sell their liberty for a temporary security/promise of a government program.

CPT Jason, C-RAM Deputy, USA, Iraq, August 2009

We wouldn’t be out here if we didn’t think it was the right thing to do.  We do it because we care and because we want a better life for all, not just for us as Americans, but for our children and those who don’t have the freedoms that we often times take for granted.  May God bless you both.

SSgt Ramonita, USMC, Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, May 2010

I am very proud to call myself a Marine grunt.  I turn 25 in three weeks.  My job is a big point of pride for me because there are many people in the armed services but only about 200,000 Army Infantry and 25,000 Marine Infantry.  Everyday I go on security patrols trying to deny Taliban movement and to find IED’s (improvised explosive devices).  I usually walk point on my patrols and every step I take is nerve wracking.  But I do it because I volunteered to serve out of love for my country.

I received your package shortly after I had gotten word that one of my friends had died in transit to Germany after being Medevac’d and losing both legs.  He was a Navy Corpsman (editors note: unlike the President’s ignorant pronunciation, the word is pronounced ‘Core-man’).  After being blown up he gave instructions to the guy that got to him first.  He was a good guy and always took care of his Marines.  Your letter lifted my spirits and solidified my resolve to hunt and kill terrorists.

Lance Corporal Michael, USMC, Helmand Province, Afghanistan, June 2010

Excerpts from many more letters are available

2 Responses to “Soldier’s Letters”

  1. Gwen Petersen says:

    Great letters.

  2. Debbie Hathaway says:

    We do need to appreciate what soldiers have done for us for a long time. These letters bring it all home!

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