Local Soldiers in Iraq, Part IV

Soldiers of Alpha Company 121st Infantry are escorting convoys all over Iraq. They spend 80 percent of their time on the road. The soldiers say the hardest thing about driving this barren landscape is not the danger, it is being away from their homes and families.

SPC Sean Martin of Cairo, GA says, "It’s hard not being around the kids. I miss them. My oldest son is 13 now, growing up. I want to tell them that he needs his father close to him."

While soldiers here miss being with their families there is easy phone and Internet access, which helps to some extent.

SGT Rodney Flowers of Lakeland, GA says, "I'd rather be home than talk to them on the phone. It’s hard."

SPC Michael Vermette of Tallahassee says, "I miss my wife, we're newlyweds, we had our anniversary in Kuwait. On the last deployment it was easier when I was single."

Soldiers are stationed here in Iraq for a year. However, the toll on their home life is more significant than that. That’s because they have to train for six months before coming here, so they'll be away from home for 18 months total.

Being on the road almost constantly makes things easier, say the soldiers. Being busy helps keep their minds off what they are missing back home, but soldiers have an added burden. They worry about their family worrying about them.

SSGT Gerald Coleman of Camilla, GA says, "I missed a call a last week. They were upset and worried. So having no contact is harder for them than on us."

Soldiers who face danger every day say when do they do get home, life will be different.

Martin adds, "It’s a life experience over here, I tell you. I look at life and be appreciative of what I have."