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Editor’s note: As a special service for our readers, WND is running a series of dispatches from Allan Wall chronicling his transition from civilian life as he prepares to fight with his National Guard unit in Iraq. Allan will write for us as often as he is able in order to let our readers vicariously experience what people in his position are going through. We hope you will check regularly for Allan’s dispatches and encourage your friends and family to do likewise.

The National Guardsmen training for Iraq duty at Fort XYZ understand that they are going to a dangerous country.

When we eat in the cafeteria, we see news broadcasts of the latest news from Iraq, and it’s usually bad news.

Soldiers stationed at Fort XYZ have served in Iraq, and some soldiers are there now. While at the clinic waiting to take my hearing test, I found myself sitting beside a soldier who had served in Iraq, who shared some experiences with me as we waited.

Iraq anecdotes are gleaned from a variety of sources – a relative or friend who has served there, or even an Iraqi veteran that somebody bumped into, as I did at the clinic.

In short, it’s not difficult to hear directly from somebody who’s been in Iraq, or hear stories from somebody who heard them from somebody else. Currently, there are 142,000 American soldiers stationed in Iraq. Add to that the number of those who have previously been there. And, there are tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers are continually rotating in and out of the country. You can see that there is a growing pool of Iraqi veterans with war stories to tell.

In fact, even among my National Guard unit training for Iraq, there are Guardsmen who have already done a tour of duty there. I know some who were sent to Iraq with the regular Army. They returned, were released, joined the National Guard, and are now being sent back to Iraq with the Guard!

The news filtering back from Iraq from these various sources contains information about the military operations engaged in by these soldiers. It tells us about the climate in Iraq and living conditions among the soldiers. It offers advice for those scheduled to go there.

Not all the soldier perspectives filtering back from Iraq are alike in every detail. That’s because they are based upon the experiences of each soldier who is telling the story. And his perspectives depend upon where and when he served, and in what capacity.

We are interested in hearing such stories, because they help us to fill in the blanks and to imagine what it may be like for us when we go to Iraq.

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