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Three Bloggers in and about Iraq

Sergeant Comments On Being Extended in Iraq

    "This is our job that we all volunteered to do and we will finish it." - SSG Carlsrud, 1-34th Brigade Combat Team

The message below is via Smith at American at Heart.  The author, a Staff Sergeant with Minnesota's 1/34th, is from the same unit as JR Salzman and the most excellent "Halp Us Jon Carry!" creators.

Apparently the 1st of the 34th BCT with soldiers from Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin (and probably other states) is a breed apart...

...By now I am sure most of you have heard of the 1-34 BCT extension here in Iraq.  I know it is disappointing to many people and it is a difficult thing to deal with.  I want you all to know that I personally as well as the soldiers who serve under me have taken this news very well and are ready to do whatever our Country asks of us.  That is our job and our duty and we all know this and live it every day.  There is nothing that anyone can do to change this decision and I am proud to be part of an outstanding BDE that has performed their mission above and beyond any expectations to date and can continue to make a difference here for a little while longer.  There is not one single soldier in this BDE that did not make a voluntary choice to join the military and this extension is simply part of the job.  It is like being asked to work on the weekend for most of you and although you may not like it you would do it because something needed to get done.  I am not trying to minimize the additional sacrifices that this will cause the families and soldiers because there will be many.  I am simply trying to put things in perspective from someone who is here and has been here for over 10 months now and away from home for more than 15 months...

   

...I know that this will be distributed to many people who are on our email list and I know that everyone has different circumstances and opinions which they are of course entitled too.  This is what makes our Country so great.  For those of you who know me personally I would like to ask a favor and explain my reason for asking.  Please out of respect for me and the other soldiers serving over here with our BDE, do not write letters to Congress or protest in any way the decision for them to extend our tour here.  I believe this is what needs to be done and we are already here and ready so it only makes sense.  What many people do not realize is that when they protest or write negative letters to their elected officials is does nothing to help our morale here.  Each time there is a protest or negative media interviews it does have an impact on the soldiers serving over here who are making the tremendous sacrifices that we are each day.  It would be a lie to say that the soldiers are not disappointed but we are professional and will do our mission and come home when it is over.  If the people of Minnesota are unhappy with this decision that is their right, however, if they want to help their soldiers get through it they should rally in support rather than in protest.  It would mean much more to the soldiers of Minnesota to see a support rally on the Capitol than a protest rally.  Like I said before, we have accepted this.  This is our job that we all volunteered to do and we will finish it.

   Do not feel sorry for me but instead support me and the other soldiers serving here.  Send more letters, send more care packages, voice your support for us in the workplace and whenever appropriate.  Focus on us, the soldiers, and not the politics of the whole thing.  For all of us here there are no politics so please keep that in mind.  Fly a flag, hang a ribbon, put a magnet on your car.  Pray for the soldiers and the families who will miss a second birthday of a child, a second anniversary, or just miss more time away from their loved ones in general.  Pray for the spouses of the soldiers and offer support to them as they now have to adjust their plans and deal with more emotions that they thought would be coming to an end soon.  Pray for the safety of each soldier and their family. I know you will all continue to be there for us and for that I feel truly blessed.

"Those who expect to reap the blessings of liberty must undergo the fatigues of supporting it." - Thomas Paine

Proud to be Serving,
SSG Carlsrud

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