Severson family sees both sides of conflict
The threat of war with Iraq has already changed the lives of many Nevada County residents – and the list goes far beyond those called to active duty in recent weeks.
Local citizens have sent their sons, daughters, grandchildren, husbands and wives to a foreign land, aboard an aircraft carrier, or to a military base. We care about the men and women sent to serve our country during these perilous times and we thought you would, too.
This installment of Letters Home continues an occasional series in The Union featuring letters from local people who have been deployed. If you would like to share a part of their letters home with us in Nevada County, please let The Union know.
Contact Letters Home, The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, CA 95945, or e-mail
– Dixie Redfearn
Intro by Mahrya Severson, Grass Valley
On Jan. 15, my little brother arrived in Kuwait as a soldier in the United States Army. He is stationed at Camp Doha in Kuwait. His unit is the 2nd Platoon, 385th Signal Co., 54th Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade in the United States Army. He is 21 and his wife, Shana, is pregnant. After I attended the peace rally in San Francisco on Jan. 18, I wrote him an e-mail describing the rally, explaining my reasons for attending, inquiring about the base in Kuwait and to remind him how much I love him. Here is the letter I received from him on Jan. 29:
By Zebulon Severson
It’s not that bad here. But it is a hardship. One of the biggest factors is how many people are here. Our post is only supposed to have 2-3 thousand people. Since I have been here there has been 10-30 thousand. So the line for chow gets long. Same for the PX. But other than that I can live with everything else. I’m in a two-man room with a wall locker, desk, night stand, refrigerator, TV and VCR. There is a big gym and movie theatre here.
I wake up about 0500 and get ready for work and go in at 0545. Then go eat chow and wait for something to happen. Eat at around 1100-1200 and come back. I’ve been training a little bit on the equipment but we don’t have that much available to train on. We have three shelters (vans) at the satellite park on real missions.
I did get to go off post as a security person. Basically, you have to be in a group of 4 or more with at least 2 per vehicle. I had a loaded handgun with me in case anything happened. It wasn’t that different. I saw four McDonald’s. There were some buildings that were pretty beat up, but some really nice ones. There was a young guy in a new Mercedes that gave me thumbs up and a smile which I thought was pretty cool.
They want me to go to the soldier of the month board in Feb. Someone higher up is saying good things about me. This is making me feel a little like walking on egg shells. Because the higher up I go the harder I can come down and I really need to use this place to get what I want.
I don’t care if you go to a peace rally, but what angers most of the military off is not the peace rally – it’s that when they talk badly about the military or get the facts messed up. Even the guy in the Mercedes who gave me a thumbs up probably doesn’t want a war, but I’m sure he likes us in Kuwait. Kuwait pays us to be here. I’m sure there are a majority of Iraqis who would want us to come in because they know that we’re not there to harm them and we’ll help them. But that’s all I have to say about that.”
And sister Mahrya adds for readers of The Union:
“It was refreshing for me to read his words. What I see as corporate culturism taking over the world (the four McDonald’s), my brother sees as comforts from home. When my brother thinks about the Iraqis he is saving, I think of the innocent people our government is harming. What he sees merely as a long “chow” line, I see how dead set this administration is about going to war. And even though we sit on opposite sides of the same story, I know that both our views are correct.”
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