Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Monday, April 24, 2006

4th Division Folks - They Keep on Dying in Iraq

My old World War II outfit, the 4th Infantry (Ivy) Division went to Iraq for the second time last December. The first time they were in and around Tikrit, where men from the division captured Saddam Hussein. Now they are in Baghdad. Either place, the men - and women too - that wear the ivy leaf patch keep on dying.
Thanks to Bob Babcock, a member of the 4th Division Association, I get an e-mail newsletter from Iraq three or four times a week. I learn a lot from it, including the fact that my regiment, the 12th Infantry, has among its duties the job of guarding the Green Zone. One young private says he enjoys working at the main gate, where he checks those seeking admission, because that way he gets to see and meet a lot of people. He can only hope that one of them doesn't turn out to be a suicide bomber, but he didn't say that.
The newsletter nearly always starts out with a list of the division's latest fatalities. There also is a monthly memorial service at Fort Hood Texas, where the division's rear detachment is stationed. In December the 4th will return there - hopefully, that is. They are counting down the days.
When you read in the newspaper that such and such a number of Americans were killed it is very impersonal. The government seems to prefer it that way. Reading that newsletter brings it to life, or perhaps I should say death. For example, her captain said this of 19-year-old Amy A. Duerksen: "She always had a smile on her face. Anyone who knew her, knew her smile." She was assigned to the division shortly before it was deployed to Iraq so she was given the option of staying behind to better prepare herself. She told her commander she was ready to go.
Pfc. George R. Roehl, 21, joined the Army one year and seven months ago, a week before Spc. James F. Costello, who had the "ability to find something funny in ordinary situations." On April 11 they died beside each other.
And on and on it goes. All my life it has been that way. Old men and women send young men and women out to die miserably in some foreign land. Sometimes there seems to be a reason for it, sometimes there doesn't. Either way it's sad, just as it's sad that those old people that ship young people off to die usually had never set foot on a battlefield themselves. Their own kids don't seem to sign up, either. Guess they learned that from their parents, or maybe they just have "other priorities." After all, dying in battle is for poor kids and middle class kids, not those from political or wealthy families, but now I'm being redundant. Posted by Picasa

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