Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Reflections from my time in Iraq"

By Carol Vols, Business Information Specialist, TACOM LCMC Rock Island
(Editor’s Note: Carol Vols deployed as a civilian volunteer for the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade communications group at Camp Anaconda, Balad, Iraq, from Oct. 1, 2006 to March 15, 2007. She shares her thoughts from her experience.)
  • I still can't watch the medivac choppers coming in without sadness.
  • I have never been called "ma'am" by so many young people in my life.
  • Somebody is teaching a lot of these young men and women manners.
  • Most of these young men and women deserve the respect of their peers, their elders, and their leaders.
  • A few of these young men and women should probably not be allowed to carry weapons.
  • I have never heard the "f" word this much in my life without taking offense to it.
  • That mortar that blew up less than 100 feet behind us was more reality than I care to have.
  • Did I mention that seeing the smoke and asphalt flying in the rear-view mirror from that mortar is something I don't think I'll forget?
  • People who haven't been in a war zone don't understand. I know I didn't.
  • You can't make people who haven't been in a war zone understand.
  • I still can't imagine what it's like to have someone shooting/shelling/setting roadside bombs to kill you outside the wire. I pray everyday for those who do have to deal with that.
  • Seeing a two year old in the hospital that was shot in the head by insurgents is as senseless here as it is when a two year old is shot in America. The "why" doesn't matter. It's a two year old.
  • Seeing soldiers in the hospital and asking them how they are doing when you can see they've been burned, lost limbs, and have shrapnel wounds seems somewhat silly. But it's important to ask.
  • Watching your friend play his mandecello at the hospital for the wounded is something to sit down, smile at, and enjoy.
  • If you can't drop one project and jump to another that you have no clue about you probably will not like your job here.
  • The extra money you get paid really doesn't seem like that much when you're laying on the ground during an alarm red/incoming attack.
  • We are at war. War is not pleasant and our soldiers and civilians will die. But you cannot continue to walk away or turn your head, or I guarantee you the war will be on American soil soon.
  • People are upset that we have lost over 3000 soldier's lives over the four years of this war, and it saddens me too. But in 2004 there were 16,148 murders in the US, and in 2005 there were 16,692 reported. We need to keep a perspective of what we're arguing about.
  • Some of the friends made here will be lifelong. Others passing. Just like at home.
  • The people who are at home and frightened for us are having a much rougher time of it than we do here on base. Not knowing is so much harder.
  • You will not find fact in the media. You will find some facts. The rest of it is political positioning, attention grabbing garbage.
  • It's a pretty simple life here. They feed you, they do your laundry, you show up for work, you go to sleep.
  • Everyone who "raised their hand" to come here should be applauded. That doesn't mean that some shouldn't be sent home.
  • Part of my decision to come here was to have no more "I should have's". It was a good decision. I need to make more of them.
  • I have never had a clearer understanding of how truly lucky and blessed we are to live in America.
Article from TACOM LCMC Community Report, A community newsletter serving TACOM, PEOs, Depots, TARDEC, the Natick Soldier Center & ARDEC April 12, 2007

Some of My Favorite Pictures

These are just a few of my favorite pictures. Enjoy!