News: Infantrymen celebrate Independence Day in Iraq
BAGHDAD – As many Soldiers at Victory Base Complex celebrated Independence Day with Vice president Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, the infantrymen of “Chaos” Company patrolled the streets of Abu Ghraib in the intense July heat to help the Iraqi Security Forces with security.
After completing their mission at the end of the day, the men of Company C, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, returned to their headquarters at Camp Liberty in preparation for their own celebration: faux-fireworks, an awards ceremony and a barbecue.
“UNLEASH THE CHAOS!” they yelled as a barrage of red and orange chemical lights rained down on the men, the closest thing to fireworks these Soldiers would get on the night when America turned 234.
For some of the Soldiers, it was their first time being away from the parades, cookouts and fireworks that make up a traditional 4th of July celebration.
“It doesn’t feel like it’s the 4th of July.” said Pfc. Billy Trull, a squad automatic weapon gunner with 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon. “Growing up, you’re used to 4th of July being fireworks and all that.”
The chemical lights, representing fireworks, proved to be an excellent touch of home for him and the other Soldiers, the Somerset, Ky., native said.
For some of the more seasoned Soldiers like Staff Sgt. Douglas Friese, a squad leader with 3rd Plt., it was just another passing of his favorite holiday.
Friese, a Harrison, Mich., native, has only been home once in the last four years to celebrate Independence Day. He deployed in 2007 and made it home in time for July 4, 2008. He then spent July 4, 2009, at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., preparing for his brigade’s current deployment.
This year, Friese stood among his Soldiers as they were given a moment of silence to reflect on the day and what the holiday means as a whole.
Trull thought of his father, who had served in Operation Desert Storm, and his grandfather, who had served in Vietnam, and the difference in the types of wars fought over the years.
“Really, we have it good compared to a lot of people before us,” said Trull.
Soldiers said they felt the company commander and first sergeant put a lot of effort into the day to ensure all Soldiers could feel the significance of the holiday.
“I think [they] really tried to give all the Soldiers a really good time as best as they can in this situation,” said Friese.
At end of the day, every Soldier was given a custom-made company coin in appreciation of their hard work throughout the deployment and a reminder of the night when the men of “Chaos” came together, thousands of miles away from home, to celebrate the birth of the United States with a barrage of chemical lights.
Date Posted:07.10.2010 03:05
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