E-Mails aus dem Irak

Eine US-Soldatin, die im Irak als Querflötistin stationiert ist, hat sich etlichen trivialen Bagger-Fragen zu ihrem Alltag, ihren Beweggründen und ihren Eindrücken im Irak angenommen. Hier ihre ungekürzten und unkommentierten Antworten.

Where exactly are you stationed in Iraq?
In Bagdad.

What is your job?
I’m a musician (flute/piccolo player) with the 10th Mountain Division Band.

How long will you be there, since when have you been there?
I’ve been here since the beginning of ‘08 and will leave hopefully early 2009. I’m not sure when we are actually leaving.

How does your day look like?
Well, I can’t give you times, but we exercise in the morning, then eat breakfast and head to work. During the day we either practice our instruments and/or have rehearsals. Also we all have different jobs within the unit. My jobs are supply, mail clerk, unit photographer/public affairs, unit historian and I’m the section leader for the flute section.

What was your motivation to become a soldier?
My motivation was that I come from a military family and my mother told me that the army had a band program my senior year of high school. So I joined the army to get paid doing what I love to do. Play music!

Why did you choose to go to Iraq?
I didn’t choose to, I was given orders to go to a unit that deploys often.

What do you like about your job?
What I love about my job is that I get to uphold the traditions of the United States Army and play music that was played in the military since it was formed. I love going out and playing Christmas carols during the holidays and just playing for the public in general. Plus, I get to travel all over the world just to play the flute!

What do you like about being in Iraq?
What I like about Iraq is the fact that I get to have my husband here with me. I’ve only gone outside the base once and that was to play for a school opening. I think it’s great that the kids are able to go back to school.

What do you dislike about your job? What do you dislike about being in Iraq?
There are a lot of things all soldiers don’t like about the military, but they’re things that we must accept in order to have the career that we have. The main things I don’t like about Iraq are the summers. I got so sick and tired of sweating every day! 120 degrees is no joke!

Do you get chances to see a lot of the country?
Well, the whole band is broken down into many different groups. For example: Rock band, Dixie band, ceremonial band, woodwind quintet, brass quintet, etc. I’m in the Ceremonial band and we don’t get to go very many places. However the other groups get out quite often.

Do you ever feel in danger?
Not really, our base is quite secure so I’m not worried at all. Plus as I said above, I don’t leave the base very often, but when I do, I get a bit nervous because I know that the attacks haven’t stopped even though there aren’t very many of them these days – which is a good thing!

What do you miss about the States? What don’t you miss?
I miss my family, being able to get in my car and go to the mall or out to eat. Being able to watch a movie as loud as I want and not worry about the neighbor banging on the wall! The big thing I miss is not having to get dressed in middle of the night when I have to go to the bathroom!!! There are so many things I miss about being home and it’s all mainly the little things we take for granted every day!
I don’t miss the NY winters! But I miss everything else! lol

How do you contribute to the success of the US army?
Well, by providing music to the troops. Being a member of an army band means a lot, your providing moral to your fellow soldiers as well as keeping army traditions alive that date back to the civil war and even further than that.

Do you think the American involvement in Iraq is a good idea?
That’s a very common question. It’s also one of the toughest ones to ask a soldier because of the unique position that they are in. Some answers could get us in trouble so all I’m going to say is that yes, I believe it is a good idea.

How do you contribute to the society of Iraq?
Well. We played for several ceremonies that had to do with opening new schools for the Iraqi children. We also had brought some school supplies to hand out to them as well. I personally bought candy to hand out to them, but to my surprise they didn’t want any. Lol. I thought that was a bit unusual!

Is the US army doing a good job there?
I believe we are. From my point of view, the less attacks the better! Means that we are doing our job. Also the Iraqi army seems to be getting the hang of things! So hopefully soon we’ll be able to let them take over!

How long, in your opinion, should the troops stay in Iraq?
Even though we all want this war to be over and go home, we don’t want to just get up and leave. We want to make sure that the Iraqi people will be safe and protected against the terrorists who want to be in control. So until the Iraqi army is equipped well enough to take care of that themselves, then we need to be here to help them.

What is your relationship with Iraqis?
I don’t really have one. I met a few kids, but that was about it.

How is the mood within the troop?
I can only speak for my unit. We have been here about 7 months now and we have our spats here and there but we are still in good spirits. However we are defiantly ready to be away from each other for a while!

What is the most memorable experience so far?
When we opened the school, I went to visit with the kindergarten and one of them had a soldier’s hat on his head along with his sunglasses. It was truly funny as well as cute.

What do you expect from the next couple of months?
I really don’t expect anything! I have my own personal things going on, like getting promoted and starting college, but that’s about it really!

Is there anything else worthwhile or funny or important for you that you wanna tell?
I feel truly blessed that I found someone that I can share this experience with! I married a soldier in my unit and I am one of the luckiest people here. If I had to leave my spouse behind, this deployment would suck so much! So I give props to everyone that had to do so!

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