"Army News Service | Spc. Todd Selge | November 08, 2006 The following is a commentary by Spc. Todd Selge. His unit, the 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, is currently deployed to Iraq.
WASHINGTON - When you hear news about the war in Iraq you usually hear it from a high-level Army spokesperson or you hear the media describe it as “another deadly day.” The view on the ground from the Soldier’s perspective is often overlooked.
We are the ones who live the conflict every day, who see the progress day-to-day. We are the ones who experience the sorrows, who interact with the people, and who see the enemy’s effort to undo every good thing the Iraqi people and coalition forces have done.
What every Soldier wants is to succeed in our mission and go home to our families. The things we do each day allow us the ability to do just that. My unit, 3rd Platoon, Company A, 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry, has seen many successes.
The most important is getting the Iraqi security forces organized and capable of handling every problem that may arise in the future. Accomplishing this happens on all levels, from the commanders down to the average private.
We have a training program through which Iraqi Army soldiers learn the same basic tasks every U.S. Army Soldier knows. The American Soldiers develop friendships with the Iraqi soldiers and police. We joke, eat, talk about family and conduct missions together. Every day, Soldiers are working hand-in-hand with Iraqis, teaching them to succeed in their jobs.
Since we have been here, the Iraqi security forces have been the main effort – finding countless caches, killing or capturing anti-Iraqi personnel and thwarting attacks targeted at coalition forces. They continue to undermine the enemy and gain the confidence of their fellow countrymen.
We are also building important and long-lasting relationships with the residents of surrounding communities. We go to schools and neighborhoods giving the kids backpacks full of supplies, handing out candy and hearing the concerns of the people. We ask about their basic services, such as food, water, electricity and fuel. We hand out cards with hotline numbers to address any problems, and we share handshakes.
We see the smiles of a hopeful generation and we see the efforts of the anti-Iraqi forces to shatter these dreams. There has been a major effort by AIF to sell and hand out a wide variety of realistic-looking toy guns. The AIF’s hope is for the Iraqi army and coalition forces to engage the children, but with constant training and the help of the communities, we will yet again foil their plans to promote chaos and hatred.
Every day we interact and help Iraq grow, we are one more day closer to success and one day closer to seeing our families.
What does the average Soldier think every day?
He wants to accomplish the mission. He wants to see the smiles of the Iraqi people last. He is grateful for everything he has back home and he wishes the very same freedom he is fighting for upon the country of Iraq."