Local News

Some Fort Bragg Soldiers Know Dangers Of Postwar Iraq

Posted September 3, 2003

— More than 1,000 Fort Bragg soldiers left Pope Air Force Base Wednesday for Iraq. Members of the 82nd Airborne Division soldiers realize they are heading into dangerous conditions.

Just two weeks before Spc. Andrew Clark becomes a father, he is leaving for Iraq.

"The way I see it, he's making the world a better place for his child," said Jennifer Clark, Andrew's mother.

Even though the war is over, Clark and hundreds of other 82nd Airborne Division soldiers know about the dangers of postwar Iraq.

"I think it's just as dangerous as it's been. I don't think much as changed in the level of intensity," Sgt. Lawrence Gotti said.

On Tuesday, a base camp with members of the 82nd Airborne Division came under fire. Soldiers believe they were hit by three rocket-propelled grenades. In fact, officials said an average of 10 American soldiers are injured in Iraq every day.

"You can't let that get in your mindset that something is going to happen to you. You got to be mentally prepared for whatever happens," Sgt. Matthew Duenas said.

Many of the soldiers' deployments are nothing new. Some have just returned from Iraq. Others have only been back from Afghanistan for a few months. Sgt. Julio Plaza was home with his sons for just three months before getting deployment orders again.

"It's stressful on my family, but that's what my nation needs and requires of me. That's what I'm going to do," he said.

The most recent deployments to Iraq are expected to last six months instead of a year.


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