Report from Iraq: 6/10/6

The time here is passing quickly, but has been quite busy. I’ve seen things, both good and bad here, but would rather concentrate on the good.
Last month one of the terrorists detonated a VBIED (vehicle-borne improvised explosive device) in a crowded market place. The local hospital was understaffed, so many of the victims were brought to our location for medical treatment. We assisted our counterparts from the 1st AD in the mass-cas operation.
I talked with one man, using mostly sign language, and he indicated that he wanted to help by holding an IV bag for one man on a stretcher. As it turned out, the man was his brother. I have to tell you it nearly broke my heart. He stood there for the longest time, struggling with his emotions. I put my arm around him and he buried his face into my chest and wept. His brother, awakened, looked at me and smiled, nodding his head. After the brother got himself under control, he thanked me.
I moved on to a small boy, no more than 3 or 4 years old. He was also on a stretcher, in fact dwarfed by it’s size. He had bandages on his head and on his left arm. IVs were running into his tiny arm. I knelt down and he looked up at me and smiled. Although injured, this precious little boy smiled at me and gave me a thumbs-up. I held out my hand and he grabbed it, holding it until the chopper arrived to take him to the American Hospital at Mosul. I realized once again that these are the people I’m here for.
Even though these kinds of attacks are infrequent, when they do happen they serve to further infuriate me with the animals that would hurt innocent people in the interest of gaining power and control. The terrorists wrap themselves in the cloak of their religion, but I am convinced that they have no interest whatsoever in religion . . . other than the credibility it lends them. Notice that none of the leaders of these movements will strap on and move against us themselves. Rather, they will promise great rewards in heaven if their subordinates will carry out these vile attacks. In their imaginations, their god will award the slaughter of innocent men, women and children with 72 virgins. Imagine their surprise when they instead find themselves in the flames of torment . . .
The day before yesterday, we were in our building conducting some of our usual business. Suddenly we heard gunfire, a few pops at first and then a veritable roar that sounded like the ripping of a stout piece of canvas. We grabbed our rifles and went to the roof to see what the action was about and where it was located. We were surprised to see the Iraqi Police at a nearby checkpoint dancing and firing their AK47s into the air. Some of our Iraqi Army troops joined in. We wondered what this was all about, and an Iraqi officer explained that it had just been announced that Zarqawi was dead. What a relief! We got the Iraqi troops to cease fire, but shots could be heard all over the city for quite some time. Contrary to a report from NBC where the reporter described muted joy and tiny demonstrations, there was a huge celebration by the citizens of this area.
Thanks for all your support my dear friends! It means so very much to me! And as usual, you find your way into my daily prayers. I’ll close for now and await your response. Until then I remain . . .
Yours, Andy

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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