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?
A: Ohio.

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.


Anonymous said...

Boggs! What a great idea to interview the men in your outfit! What a great way to get the real news out of Iraq to us. We live in Newton, Tx. So we want to adopt SSG Newton as our namesake hero. Amazing how a woman can inspire a man and we are glad he married his highschool sweetheart. "Something about the hand that rocks the craddle." Getting to know the SSG made us love our men fighting for us and for the Iraqis all the more. We ate up his insite on the changes in Iraq, things you don't really think about like being cleaner, hair cuts, better clothes and cars. I hope, besides having more goods available to them, that it shows they have pride in themselves as a free people. We also enjoyed his view of the leadership in our Army and how you have to adjust and reinvent yourselves over there. Thank you so much Tim Boggs for what you are doing and thank you too, SSG Newton. We here in Newton, Tx., are proud of you and will be praying for you and your sweet family. Thanks for going back the second time. Thanks for letting SGT Boggs interview you. Stay safe Mr. Soldier, USA.
Annie & Neatie
Newton, Tx. USA

Anonymous said...

Hey Boggs,
Good work! Great story about how SSG Newton came to be a military man. I truly believe that behind every great man there is a woman who inspires him... in one way or another. Keep it up Tim.

Gypsy said...

t.f. this will be a great series, reading about the other Soldiers in your unit..a personal glimpse into their lives and background. AND I also liked hearing about the the Iraqis lives improving in different ways. Great job!

I really enjoyed learning about SSG Newton, please thank him for me!

john said...

SSG Newton was a perfect idea for your 1st interview. good job! tell him i said hey and stay safe homie! ill see you soon!

Melinda said...

Love the idea of this series. :) Let SSG Newton know that those of us holding it down here in Ohio will be thinking of all of you & now we can do so by name. :) We'll add you all to our "who we are praying for/supporting/etc" binder.

Thanks for the great insight!

Matt said...


It's a pleasure reading about SSG Newton. I think this is such a wonderful idea, doing these interviews. This just adds to my appreciation of what you, SSG Newton, and the rest of our troops are doing. Thanks a lot to both of you.

Charles said...

Boggs, great interview and great idea.

Hewitt, you are on your way out and Boggs will soon be broadcasting or podcasting a better radio show.

T. F. Boggs said...

SSG Newton is a great guy and I am glad I interviewed him first. There will be more good interviews to come so stay tuned. Charles-I wish I could take over for Hugh but right now I cant even get him to link to my site. It seems funny to me that all of the big Bloggers link to non-military or ex-military bloggers but shy away from real bloggers in Iraq. Thats ok I guess, maybe I am just not good enough for Hugh. Here's hoping he reads this. Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts, I will tell Good ol Fast Eddie Newton that you guys appreciate his service.

Praguetwin said...

I found you because of Hugh.

T. F. Boggs said...

Ah yes praguetwin there in lies the problem. He linked to me one day but not on his permanent milblog links. Dont think I am hating, I am merely just joking around. Hugh was very nice to me and I cannot complain. I am glad he brought me you because where else would I have gotten a reader that describes themself in this way "specializing in grassroots counterestablishmentism, including armed rebellion."

Good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Boggs for your comments. You made us think about who is and who is not getting posted around the net. We think you have a point in some ways. Mike Yon wants to get you guys stories posted in a forum. Still think that is the best way. But the trend needs to grow beyond just him. To tell you the truth, we don't understand what "grassroots counterestablishmentism, including armed rebellion", means - -but we will check it out Praguetwin. We thought we are armed with "the vote" and free speach but those do seem to be getting harder and harder to use. If it means fed up with politicians and our military being bad mouthed by a bunch of liberals - -we got you. Boggs, you are doing a great job and we still love Sgt Newton. Can't wait for your next interview. A&N

yankeemom said...

Just found your blog thru Mudville Gazette. I love the interview idea! Thanks for helping us get to know our soldiers.
I linked to you and would like to add you to my blogroll.

Anonymous said...

Go BOGGS! Thanks Yankeemom from us other interested in the war citizens. Some people call it a blogroll. I call it a website. Hmmhumm!

Sherri said...

What a great idea you had! This interview was terrific and I look forward to the next one. Thanks go to ALL of you who are serving.

Praguetwin said...


Just remember, I studied it. I don't practice it. Good luck getting on Hugh's permanant links.


Armed with the vote indeed. Don't forget that all freedom at some point was generated from the many and weak rising up against an oppresive power. Case in point, the Revolutionary War.

Doubtful that will be the last of its kind.

"The tree of liberty must be watered from time to time with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants."

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

You do the math.

Anonymous said...

What an interview. As a retired USAF fighter type, I'd go back in for him and his companions anytime. These are true Americans. Keep on truckin'!

MissBirdlegs in AL said...

Terrific idea, Boggs & a good interview. My thanks to both you and SSG Newton for your service and for letting us into your lives a bit. I really appreciate the insight from the SSG on the differences he notices in the Iraqis from his last deployment.

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Praguetwin for making that clear to us. Amen

Huntress said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Huntress said...

Great Interview....look forward to others.

I think its awesome that SSG Newton came back with his unit.

I am inspired by all of you in the military...and Im in awe those who keep coming back by choice...who willingly put themselves in harms way to keep the flames of democracy burning brightly....

My admiration to his wife and kids who so bravely "share" SSG Newton with his squad...and this country!
God Bless them!

I think you should consider making podcasts of your interviews...and include your some clips of your favorite music ..maybe to start off the interview..and at the end.

But Podcast or no podcast...keep doing these interviews...its a great way to meet your fellow soldiers.

As for questions to ask, how about:

Who is your role model?

If you could meet ONE person in history...from recent history all the way back to the beginning of time...who would it be and why?
What would you ask that person?

If I could grant you three wishes, what would they be?

Stay safe!

Anonymous said...

Here are more questions for you to ask your interviewees Sgt. Boggs:
1. Who do you trust most to cover your back?
2. What will the history books say about you? Do you care? or do you have a bigger reason for fighting?
3. Are you a realist, a romantic or a dreamer?

catlst said...

Hey Man--- Boggs sounds like a cool guy-even if he is one of those dang buckeyes who cant drive worth a darn whenever they come over to KY:)

T. F. Boggs said...

Thanks for the suggestions Huntress and anon. I have only recently learned about podcasting but that could be a good idea in the future. There is also a way for me to host some audio on here so I will check that out too. As far as some of my favorite music I think I would start out with some Ray Charles then go to Van Morrison, Al Green, Warren Zevon, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, and round it out with the Subdudes. Of course there would be more thrown in there but that would give everyone a good idea of what I like.

Anonymous said...

Boggs, just found you through

What a great idea to do interviews! Makes your milblog pretty unique and interesting to read.

Keep up the good work. Thanks for your service. You guys rock!

Michelle said...

You don't know me...and I don't know you, but you have been a topic of conversation in my house lately. Apparently, your father used to babysit for me when I was a baby and my brothers were toddlers. So, when my father found your website, he sent it on to my brothers and me.
So,I hope you are doing well, and if you need to vent, I am a good outlet. Thank you for all that you are doing as well.