Saturday, March 04, 2006
Who's Fighting For You: 1
My first interview is with a fellow soldier from my platoon. His name is SSG Newton and he is a squad leader and overall great guy. What follows are a few questions I asked him so that you guys could get a better idea of who is fighting for you. This is the first in what I hope to be a series of interviews. If anyone has any questions they would like me to ask in future interviews feel free to ask.
Q: Where are you from?
Q: How far have you gone in school?
A: 12th Grade.
Q: Did you play sports?
A: Oh yeah, all sports. Football, baseball, track.
Q: What sports was your high school known for?
A: Football big time. It’s division six; a small school but we have big heart. We are always in the division running.
Q: When and why did you join the Army?
A: Yeah it’s a funny story. I dated a girl for three years in high school and after high school, a year after, we were actually in an argument because she was moving away to college and I didn’t like losing her there and uh the phone rang and it was the army recruiter, the army reserve recruiter. He said “What’s your thoughts on the army reserves?” and I said “I’ll do it.” He said “Uh excuse me.” I was thinking to myself well I’ll show her you know and uh here I am twelve years later. I’m married to her and still here in the army.
Q: So you have family at home?
A: Yeah I have three kids. One boy and two girls.
Q: This is your second deployment correct?
A: That’s right. Voluntarily.
Q: Why did you come back for a second time?
A: The unit I am assigned to got deployed. If it had been another unit I possibly wouldn’t have came but I figured you know all my friends and everything in that unit are going and maybe I have some knowledge or something that could help them out so I figured I would go over with them.
Q: Since you have already been here what do you think of Iraq so far this deployment?
A: Uh, well I think it is a lot different, not just from just the military base standpoint but how the Iraqi people act around the soldiers out and about. There is a lot more respect, they aren’t badgering them all the time. The traffic is amazing, they (Iraqis) all get over to the side of the road and let you pass now. Its just a lot different then it was in the beginning.
Q: Since you have been here once do you see any hope for the future now that things have progressed and changed?
A: Oh yeah, yeah I do. You can tell when you got here the fanciest thing they probably had was a white robe that they had been wearing for 15 years but now you run around and see that the clothing they are wearing is better, they look cleaner and they are getting haircuts. The infrastructure is getting better too. There is water here and electricity there that you didn’t see before. You know even the cars look better then they were in the beginning. It looks like their whole lifestyle has improved.
Q: How long do you think it will take for their lives to start getting a lot better?
A: I would say a number. I would say we have basically won the hearts and minds of the younger generation, the kids of this country. I think is going to be until they grow up that we are going to see any difference.
Q: How long do you think it will be until the media starts reporting positive stories about Iraq?
A: I think probably it is going to depend how much pressure is going to be put on them. You know they have obligations to fill and they are just telling what sells. Unfortunately the bad things sell but I think they need to learn that the good things do too.
Q: What do you think about your leadership and/or do you think you could do a better job?
A: Well, huh, I think my leadership is a little confused. A lot of them are in slots they aren’t real familiar with. They got a little bit of training and came over here and now they are running companies. Our company is an exception, we switched MOS’s (*Jobs. We were originally fuelers now we are a transportation company.) I think they are out of their league but given a little of time I think they will come around. The battalion, ah well I don’t know what they battalion is thinking exactly. As far as me doing a better job I don’t know. I know that there is always two sides to every coin and there is probably a lot of stuff that we aren’t seeing, you know the part of it that we don’t understand.
Q: What do you do in your free time here?
A: I like to try to get to the internet and email home and I like to relax. I got my laptop and I like to turn the music on and type up emails and try to communicate with home a little bit.
Q: What is the first thing you are going to do when you get back hom?
A: Do something with the family. No beaches and no camping trips right away but you know, do something with them to get reacquainted with them.
Q: What do you miss most about home?
A: My family. I would have to say that is it.
Q: Who do you think would win in a fight, Bruce Willis or the entire cast of Brokeback Mountain?
A: Bruce Willis, he is a bad ass.
That concludes my first interview. SSG Newton is a great guy and all the soldiers in my unit are lucky to have him along. I am glad he chose to come back a second time and help me show these young punks how to save the world from terrorism.