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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Friday, November 16, 2007

Casing the Colors and back to Iraq

Today at Fort Hood in the Lone Star State of Texas, the colors of the 4th Infantry Division are being cased in preparation for a return to the grim streets of Baghdad and its surrounding area. This will be the third tour of duty in Iraq for the Ivy Division. Last December my old outfit returned home after being relieved by the 1st Cavalry Division. Now they will take over from the 1st Cav and this time will stay fifteen months rather than twelve.
The first time the Ivymen traveled to Iraq they were stationed in and around Tikrit. Among their accomplishments was the capture of Saddam Hussein. During their two tours both men and women of the division were killed. The women served in support, not combat, units. That didn't prevent them from dying.
Some of the soldiers will be returning to Iraq for the third time, some for the second and a fair number will be making their first trip. Although the Fourth has a higher retention rate than other divisions, there were those who had seen enough of Iraq and left the service when their enlistments were up. In many cases this was at the urging of families who had more than their share of lengthy separations.

People glibly speak of supporting the troops. Others use that despicable phrase "boots on the ground." Soldiers wear those boots. Without them those boots mean nothing. Troops aren't merely large numbers of soldiers, they are individuals who leave loved ones behind and often die on foreign soil. In its first two deployments to Iraq, at least 214 from the 4th Infantry Division were killed in Iraq. Ten of them are pictured below. Look at their faces and sometimes think of them, and as you go about your daily routine give some thought to those now returning to Iraq. Not all will come back. Others will, some in good health and some with shattered bodies, but none will be quite the same as when they left. Most people will never understand why.


Blogger STAG said...

There is too much "glib talk", (Nice phrase...I like it.)regarding the work which our soldiers must do in order to "do their duty". Much of it bothers me a lot because it sounds very condescending...."our boys in danger" and so forth. The MEN I led don't consider themselves boys, and can make their own choices thank you! The phrase which hits my button is "I support the troops but I don't support the mission". Not quite sure why it pisses me off...I think because it is all backwards....the mission and the duty of the troops are the same, and the mission must come first.
Certainly the troops in my section were trained professionals who looked forward to the promotions, extra pay, and yes (believe it or not) a chance to do their duty as they perceived it. A chance to spit in the eye of people who had zero respect for us and our values.
I don't know that this makes any sense..getting mad about things I cant change. I am retired now, and don't live in the past. I really wish I could go over and take the place of some young punk with a young wife and kids, but I don't think that they would thank me for it.

Bill Fedun
mcpl Canadian Forces Ret'd.

6:05 PM  

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