22 February 2002

BY: Regis H. Murphy, Jr.
GKO Contributing Writer

GIANT KILLERS ORG (02/17/04) -- Returning soldiers from Iraq who I met today at Fort Polk, La. were amazed at how little we knew of what they've done while on duty over there. It seemed to be a serious point of discussion for them to realize that their efforts with rebuilding that war torn country was being overshadowed by the, what they considered minor, attacks being reported daily on television! Sure, they appreciate the pain and suffering some of their fellow soldiers have sustained but they are quick to acknowledge that, that is the nature of that war, or any war for that matter, and every one of them is a volunteer. It was explained to me, an old soldier of the Vietnam Era, that even members of combat units when the situation presented itself participated with the rebuilding, organizing and supplying of schools, public buildings, roads, bridges, basic facilities and perhaps most importantly, establishing a direct communication link with the Iraqi people. The returning soldiers I talked with also mentioned something I remember veterans from other wars talked about as well. The indigenous peoples who made up the populous of the country where the war took place have always been a topic of interest. Oftentimes it was questioned, 'were they worth it' To my pleasant surprise, most of the comments I heard were positive about our involvement in Iraq as well as the relationship we are developing with the Iraqi people. It was even mentioned that the different 'tribes' and groups of citizens that we usually hear about not getting along has reminded some of our soldiers about our own citizenry makeup. We have ethnic, racial, religious and regional 'groups' and look at us. Of course, we have social problems yet look at how well off our citizens are when compared to other countries, some of which do not have our diversity. The overwhelming amount of positive comments made by our soldiers to me was encouraging to say the least. For all of their experience and trauma with death and destruction in a war, I am impressed with their clear insight of the whole situation and vision, especially when considering most of the soldiers I talked with were in their teens or early twenties!

They left me with a sense of pride in them that I will not soon forget. When asked what we could do for them, they replied, "get the whole 'word' about what's happening over there (Iraq) to our people, not only the killing, and to let the soldiers (members of all the armed services) who are over there know that they are being supported and thought of."

With that in mind, I encourage all of you to take the time and write to:

'Any Service Person'
C/O Debbie Evans, 12442 Valley View Road
Nevada City, CA 95945

Be sure to include your return address. Ms Evans will then forward the letters to her daughter, Crystal Antipuesto, a member of the 82nd Airborne Division who will then distribute them among service personal.

President Bush was at Fort Polk today and I think he did a great job welcoming home our troops. The troops did a 'magnificent' job of coming home with so much to their credit. Our Forefathers and you can rest in peace knowing that we are safe and rightly should be proud of our men and women in uniform.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Romeo 47 are that of the author and not necessarily that of Al Colombo or others who appear in the GKO publication. Direct inquiries regarding it's content to the author. Thank you.

Allan B. Colombo