On December 18, the last convoy of American troops to leave Iraq drove to Kuwait, marking the official end of the nearly nine-year war.
Four days earlier, SGT Curt Meyers of Redwood Falls conducted an email interview with the Gazette from his base in Kuwait.
On December 18, the last convoy of American troops to leave Iraq drove to Kuwait, marking the official end of the nearly nine-year war. Four days earlier, SGT Curt Meyers of Redwood Falls conducted an email interview with the Gazette from his base in Kuwait. The Gazette’s questions are in boldface; the rest is Meyers. . . . We just got back from our last mission in Iraq on Thursday night December 15th. There are still a few convoys in Iraq yet, but all Earthpig soldiers are back. All in all, everything went as good as it could. We can say that we ended our mission with no casualties, which is pretty amazing. Now, on to your questions: Who from the Redwood area do you see often? Are all the Redwood soldiers in one place, or spread across the country? The Redwood unit consolidated with the Hutchinson unit. We are all one company now and are stationed in Kuwait. We all live in the same area. The company is broken down into four platoons: First, Second, Third, and Headquarters. Each platoon lives in their respective building with the exception of Headquarters, which is split up between the rest. I am in Second platoon, which is predominately Redwood Falls soldiers. There are Redwood Falls soldiers in the other platoons as well, but I don’t see them very often at all. When we go out on missions, we generally go out in squads. However, this last mission was almost all of Second platoon. Where are you now? What are the living conditions like? What do you do for shelter, food, recreation, etc.? We are all back in Kuwait now, with the exception of those on leave. Living conditions in Iraq varied from base to base. Camp Adder, previously known as Tallil (pronounced Ta Leel) had hard buildings to sleep in, Camp Taji (pronounced Tah Jee) has "Toomers Trucker's Inn" which is a huge tin machine shed with rows of bunk beds that is set up for about 210 soldiers. All bases had chow halls for us up until about mid-November. Once bases started to clear out, the chow halls went too. We ate MRE's (Meal Ready to Eat) if the chow halls were closed. As far as recreation goes, we all have computers, we play cards and volleyball. A lot of the guys go to gym. We have a great workout facility here in Camp Buehring. What sort of missions have you gone on so far? What is a typical mission like? What dangers do you look for? How do the people who live there behave toward you? We had two missions. The first mission was convoy security. We were considered a CET(Convoy Escort Team). We were the firepower, the guardians of the convoy. Army or Air Force were actually in charge of the convoys. We protected them. At any given time, we would have 20-40 "white trucks" which were driven by TCN's (third country nationals) and 4-8 "green" trucks driven by Army or Air Force. All trucks pulled flatbed or low-boy trailers, with the exception of the recovery teams. The greens had the recovery trucks for any breakdowns along the way. If we had a major breakdown, we could load our truck onto either a green or a white, dependant on what was not loaded. Our other mission was RST (Route Security Team). We would take a squad-sized element and push out in front of the convoy to look for and clear any possible dangers that would slow the convoy down. Keeping the convoy rolling was the important thing — the longer you are on the road, the longer you are in danger. Keep the movements steady and quick. As a whole, Charlie Company had 74 CET missions and traveled 235,000 ACCIDENT-FREE miles in Iraq. We safely escorted over 2500 tractor/trailers in and out of country. An additional 35,000 ACCIDENT-FREE miles were traveled on RST missions, bringing the total to 270,000 miles. Charlie Company has the most miles in our Brigade, which is a pretty good accomplishment in itself. What can the people back home do to show their support? People back home have showed GREAT support. Captain Decrans wanted me to make sure the people back home know how much we appreciate what they've done. He as kept track of incoming mail, and said that on average, each soldier has received at least 20 packages. This goes to show that our families and our communities love and respect us. It saddens me that soldiers in the past did not receive this amount of support. What have you heard about when your deployment will end? Has it changed? At this point, all I can do is laugh about question number five. In typical Army fashion, our end date for the deployment is in the air. Originally we were scheduled to be here until May of 2012. If I were to type all of the rumors that I've heard, you would be reading for hours! Will we be staying until May? Personally, I don’t think so. BUT, I have learned from the past that if a date is printed, people treat it as gospel. Things change in the Army. I hesitate to put anything in print, as to not put false hope in the community. Matter of fact, I don’t want to put false hope in myself either!