November 21, 2005
Training soldiers to fight terrorists is an on-going process at Fort Gordon. They train in the woods around the base before heading to Iraq.
The desert heat burns at over 100 degrees. The men and women wear gear that weighs close to forty pounds. Danger is near. But Sergeant Eugene Teasley has a different memory of Iraq.
“One thing that really touched me was giving a six-year-old a piece of candy. It’s something you don’t forget,” Teasley said.
It is a memory that makes it worth it for many. But the sacrifice can be large.
“In one week, we had thirty people who lost their life for no reason.”
Sergeant Timothy Grega is dressed as the enemy to help train the soldiers. He has fought in Iraq twice, and says insurgents hid on roads, in buildings and in crowds. And they have easy access to weapons, because many are homemade.
The men and women go through real scenarios, like how to overtake a building, how to save a hostage, and how to keep from becoming a war statistic.
Private First Class Roberta Jordan is ready to kill or be killed.
“I don’t think anyone’s ready for that, it’s just in the job line,” Jordan said.
She looked up to her father in uniform, and has wanted to be like him ever since she was nine, to fight and maybe even die for the honor of her country.
“That’s why I signed the dotted line,” Jordan said.
“The barracks become home,” said Private First Class Hinddo Entin.
Life overseas is not easy. In many cases there is not running water. That can mean weeks without a shower.
When they’re in the war zone, they set up camps and sleep in rows of cot. But sometimes when they’re out on operations, they may have to sleep in their vehicle, on the ground or sometimes not sleep at all.
Not being alert can be dangerous with the enemy at arm’s reach. Some resort to chewing coffee grounds that come in their ready-to-eat meals.
“We wanna help schools so you don’t have the kids and the young teens out there who may be on the fence about whether to help the coalition forces or not,” said Sgt. Grega.
Their goal is to show the Iraqis that they are here to get help, not hinder. As the majority of the trainees get ready to head out, Sergeant Eugene Teasley reminds them why they are fighting.
“We are restoring their electricity. It goes on and stays on,” Teasley said.
Clean water, new clothes, new schools. Improving lives of Iraqi children and making the world a safer place.
“I’ll take it with me for the rest of my life,” Teasley said.
In several weeks, all the trainees out there will graduate and be sent to other units. They will then deploy overseas.