Letter from Iraq: 3/8/6

It has come to my attention that I have been somewhat . . . *ahem* less than diligent in my reports.
Things are going well over here. Better than you might see on the news.
A few weeks ago, we conducted raids in an area of Tal Afar in which we rounded up some bad guys. During the raids, I was standing with some jundees and a tiny crippled old woman approached us, saying things like “God bless you!” over and over again. She came up to me and grasped my left hand. She began to kiss it, saying again “God bless you!” I pulled my hand away, after all we were there to do business. She waddled around the group and grabbed my other hand and kissed it.
I’m over here for that lady.
Yesterday, we went on yet another of a seemingly endless convoy to the castle, built during the Byzantine Empire. On the way, I saw the kids. Beautiful kids. Tiny heads popped out of metal gates, peering at us with curiosity. Little girls dressed in white blouses and dark blue skirts, hair pulled back in pony tails, waving and smiling . . . gasping as I threw candy to them from the turrent of my vehicle. They ran to gather up their prizes, and wave happily as we disappear into the cloud of dust. Tiny little girls, wearing brightly colored gowns, some with tiny gold sequins, smiling shyly at us as we go by, waving at us with their fingers. Dusty little boys, jumping up and down, grinning and waving, dashing pell mell after the candies that are thrown. No, they aren’t as shy about it as the girls. And they don’t share as well. Adults in subdued colored traditional garb, watching, grinning at the antics of these urchins. I’m here for these kids.
Yes, another day in Tal Afar, reported by some to be the most dangerous city in Iraq. I won’t say that there aren’t dangers, there are some bad guys around, but I want to give you a view of this place that the news media won’t . . .
These people are taking baby steps. But make no mistake about it . . . they’ve taken that first step toward freedom. And as the saying goes, the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

We invite our readers, youth groups, Scout troops, etc. to write to Sgt. Danison and his men.
Sgt. Danison’s present address is:
1SG Andrew Danison
1st Bn, 2d Bde, 3d IAD/CMATT
FOB Sykes
APO AE 09334
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