An American Soldier

Hello. I had the privilege of going to two different Iraqi villages this morning. Our mission was to hand out coloring books, pencils, candy and toys to the Iraqi school children. They were overjoyed to see us, as you can see in one of the photos.


The girls are typically very shy and the boys are quite the opposite! Some of the children do not have shoes, to wear to school. Most of the children only have one or two sets of clothing to wear...for everything. It was amazing to see how excited they were, just to get a pencil. They love Americans and  thank us for helping them. They are learning to speak English and have perfected counting to 10. They also like to give us a thumb's up and a high 5. Great experience, and thought you could use a break from what the media is reporting.

Hope you are well,

Hello everyone.  Life here is the same. Thought that I would send you some pictures. 

This one, I am standing outside of my sleep tent. You can see my cool bike in the background. The green vest I am wearing is the steel plated body armor that weighs over 30 lbs. We wear them where ever we go... as well as carrying my M16 on my back. It can slow you down when the temp is up in the 120's. We, American soldiers were made tough, though! Miss everyone.


Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 2004 3:12 AM
Subject: Presidential Palace Photo's from Bagdad.
Hello everyone, I received this email yesterday. It sums up everything that I have been witnessing over here, first hand. I am very lucky, in that our BDE mission is directly involved with some of these projects. One of our current missions is building schools where none had previously existed.  (Do you remember the pictures I sent from the schools?) We are working on getting water purification plants up and running.  So below is an email from a soldier who just returned to IRAQ from taking his 2 week leave.
I have also included pictures of one of the Palaces that Saddam built while his people were starving.

 This Palace had a crystal, 3-story tall chandelier hanging from the enormous detailed domed ceiling. Inside, it was wall to wall Italian marble flooring and giant pillars.

 This Palace was built from 1990-1996 (approx).  It was very extravagant and opulent. I have more of these types of photo's if you would like to see then, just let me know. This was only one of many palaces that I observed while I was in Baghdad.



(This is from a National Guardsman from Denison, Iowa - back on leave)

As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my stay in Iraq, I wanted to say thanks to all of you who did not believe the media. They have done a very poor job of covering everything that has happened. I am sorry that I have not been able to visit all of you during my two week leave back home. And just so you can rest at night knowing something is happening in Iraq that is note worthy, I thought I would pass this on to you. This is the list of things that has happened in Iraq recently: (Please share it with your friends and compare it to the version that your paper is producing)!!

-Over 4.5 million people have clean drinking water for the first time ever in Iraq.

-Over 400,000 kids have up to date immunizations.

-Over 1500 schools have been renovated and ridded of the weapons that were stored there so education can occur.

The port of Uhm Qasar was renovated so grain can be off loaded from ships faster.

-School attendance is up 80% from levels before the war.

-The country had it's first 2 billion barrel export of oil in August.

-The country now receives 2 times the electrical power it did before the war

-100% of the hospitals are open and fully staffed compared to 35% before the war.

-Elections are taking place in every major city and city councils are in place.

-Sewer and water lines are installed in every major city.

-Over 60,000 police are patrolling the streets.

-Over 100,000 Iraqi civil defense police are securing the country.

-Over 80,000 Iraqi soldiers are patrolling the streets side by side with US soldiers.

-Over 400,000 people have telephones for the first time ever.

-Students are taught field sanitation and hand washing techniques to prevent the spread of germs.

-An interim constitution has been signed.

-Girls are allowed to attend school for the first time ever in Iraq.

-Text books that don't mention Saddam are in the schools for the first time in 30 years.

Don't believe for one second that these people do not want us there. I have met many many people from Iraq that want us there and in a bad way. They say they will never see the freedoms we talk about but they hope their children will. We are doing a good job in Iraq and I challenge anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts.

So If you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to give him my email address and send him to Denison, Iowa. This soldier will set him straight. If you are like me and very disgusted with how this period of rebuilding has been portrayed, email this to a friend and let them know there are good things happening.

Ray Reynolds, SFC

Iowa Army National Guard

234th Signal Battalion

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