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Letters from Home – Iraqi war isn’t ‘over’ for everyone

U.S. Marine Corps Col. Sean Metroka
The Union StaffU.S. Marine Corps Col. Sean Metroka, a Nevada County resident stationed in Iraq, shares bread with Iraqis, who he said have expressed gratitude to U.S. soldiers.
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Following are excerpts from the most recent e-mail home by U.S. Marine Corps Col. Sean Metroka, a Nevada County resident serving in Iraq:

I hope this note finds you well and enjoying nice weather. Our weather is sunny most days and dusty on occasion with midday temperatures between 105 and 120F.

We spent most of May 26 trying to reach Kish, which is only about eight miles from Babylon. While searching for Kish, we came upon three small farming villages and were stopped in each by the villagers asking for help. We didn’t have our linguist with us but were able to determine that they had a severe shortage of water. We promised to try to help them and came back the next day with an interpreter to determine the extent of the problem. The elders told us their water had been cut off for five years by the regime because they would not support the local Ba’ath party leaders. Two days later, we delivered 2,700 gallons of drinking water to these villages (just enough to provide a week of drinking water to every family in the area). We then escorted irrigation engineers to the area to survey the canals and develop a plan to restore the flow of water to our “adopted villages.” Needless to say, we have won their hearts.

As you may hear on the news, we are still fighting paramilitary forces on a small scale. Americans come under fire nearly every day, and the attacks range from snipers to suicide bombings and convoy ambushes. Despite these attacks, I still believe the majority of Iraqis are happy we are here and want us to stay and help them. Everywhere I have traveled in this country, we have been welcomed and praised as saviors.

While on an archeological site survey a few weeks ago, we were stopped by a man and two of his children who were offering us apricots and cold water. This was the first time we had been offered refreshment by Iraqi citizens. We were invited to their home because they wanted to thank us for bringing freedom to their country.

On June 1, Lieutenant General Conway promoted me to Colonel. Needless to say, that was a very good day for me. I was notified of my selection for promotion in April 2002, so I was more than ready to actually pin the eagles on my collar.

Finally, I received a birthday card last week from my dear friends at Nevada County Superior Court. It struck me how much I miss them and my family and other friends. I have been over here for seven months. As far as Marine Corps deployments go, seven months is not extraordinarily long. That being said, I am anxiously awaiting my redeployment date which should get home by the end of July.

Thank you for your continued support, good wishes and prayers.


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