The Story of an American Soldier in Iraq

Life as a soldier in Baghdad, Iraq is definitely interesting and full of life changing experiences, like... being shot at and blown up! Yee haw, what fun eh?

Actually, it has its ups and downs, and as a journalist in the US Army (assigned to CJTF-7 Public Affairs) I've had the chance to see many things that others have only heard of through the news themselves - I hope you'll enjoy them too, through my eyes. ; )

Thursday, October 26, 2006

It's been almost three years since I returned home from Iraq, but it still regularly affects my life.

I'm now out of the Army, and a student at WSU Pullman; using the money from the Montgomery GI Bill to get an education in Zoology and Wildlife Ecology. I'm in my first term here, and I can tell you the absolute freedom that college students enjoy is a blessing that more adults should add to their lives. I see all the 18-year-olds around me sloughing off school work or griping about how 'tough' life is and I can't help but scoff; they have no idea what life even is yet. Every day that I can go to class, learn new things, say whatever I think, and even just enjoy the warm sun on my face is a blessing.

I was diagnosed (officially) this summer with PTSD, but I've been able to avoid most of the things that trigger problems.
I still haven't watched a true war movie (things like Xmen or Starship Troopers don't count... I mean like Blackhawk Down or Private Ryan). And I avoid news and TV shots about the war; the images give me bad dreams (or just strange ones) too often.
This past 4th of July was the first one I've been able o enjoy. When I expect the blasts, they're okay. There was just something 'wrong' about not being able to enjoy fireworks.
This past month has reminded me the the PTSD is there though. The state decided to make the highway out front of my home into a 4-laner; they have been blasting to break through the rock and have their big machinery going pretty much 24/7. I've been a bit of a wreck; not obviously, like shaking in my boots or anything (not that easy to define). Instead, I toss and turn all night and wake my poor roomie up screaming sometimes in the night; I don't remember it in the morning, but I'm very tired, and have to drag myself out of bed (making me late a lot). If I hear the blasts when I'm awake, I get really jangled; uptight and on edge like a mini-adrenaline rush. They keep catching me unawares, like when I'm walking the dog or carrying groceries; I haven't hit the dirt, but my heart jumps into my throat and takes hours to slide back down where it belongs, and a few days to relax back to normal.

Since returning, my concentration level has gone into the toilet too; I feel like a kid with ADD and I can't remember half the tasks I'm supposed to do. The road work has made it a lot worst, but it has been a problem since I go back. It's really frustrating -- I swear I'm an intelligent person (IQ about 140) but it sure doesn't feel like it lately. I think most people would describe me as 'dunderheaded' and that really bugs me, because I'm really not. I've always been forgetful, but it's nearing ridiculous at times; one night I put on water to boil to make noodles and forgot about it until I heard the pot popping because it was dry. I keep begging forgiveness from those who are stuck 'picking up the pieces' I leave behind. Someone asked me the other day if I was 'this irresponsible while in the Army' and I wanted to bawl (and I'm not a crier...) I pray that I go back to 'normal.' So far this part has been another the doctors just wave off like it's not real; VERY frustrating because it affects my life the most seriously. How can I go on to achieve great things in life if I can't make a frickin' dinner without messing it up?!? :*(
The machinery moved down the street earlier this week, and some of the problems are fading, but a month of it has been tough to handle. They've only just broken through the rock - I can only hope that the paving part throughout the next year isn't as bad. There won't be any blasting (I think that's the worst), but the tank-like machinery will still be there in the night. I know I'll live through it just fine, but it's hard to get good grades when you can't focus on what you're doing.

I've also had skin problems since last September. I thought it was job-related at the time, as I was using some nasty chemicals for kennel cleaning at the local HSUS, but I don't think so anymore. I've been see at the VA in Spokane a few times, and they said they're seeing it more and more in OIF guys. My skin will dry out in patches and crack in all the lines; mostly on my wrists and hands so far. It's painful because it lasts for months - your movement keeps the cracks from healing and it feels like something between badly chapped lips and road rash. At my last job the cracks in the skin let ringworm in and I got a bad ringworm infection that didn't want to die. The fungus is gone, but the cracks keep coming back. I get a lot of scaley, dry patches that don't crack too, just look gross. I hope it will heal with time, but the doctors seem kind of clueless; they've been guessing it's something related to the sandflys over there. I guess if it's the worst I end up with, I'm still doing better than the poor buggers with Desert Storm Syndrome or Agent Orange, so I can't really complain. It's just frustrating when you can't even get a diagnosis (or when they won't even try to).

Like I said earlier, overall I'm just happy to be here and to be whole. I enjoy the little things more, like the sound of the leaves in the wind or when my dog 'snores' because he likes his petting, and just the ability to walk down a street freely. I do feel lonely a lot; the camraderie in the Army just isn't found in the 'real' world, but hopefully I'll find some good veteran's groups to help fill the void there.
Well, I'll sign off for now; I just wanted to give whoever wanders across this board a peek into 'what happened afterward'.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

I realized just the other day that though I had come back to the blog to piece in missing letters here and there, that I had never written a final note.
I got home safely in early February of 2004 and after a month of leave at home, returned to "duty as usual" here in Heidelberg, Germany where I'm based. I also took the month of June off to recognize my dream of touring Europe; I explored Italy, Spain, Gibraltar, Morrocco, Austria, Lichtenstein and Switzerland with a backpack. I hope to see more before I leave Germany this summer to head back to the US for good.
I had problems with anxiety and nightmares for months, and still have problems with something like ADD that makes it hard to concentrate for long on a task at hand. I still haven't watched any war movies, though I can watch action and horror movies without problems now (it was only comedies for a long time). I'll have a nightmare if something triggers it, usually the news, so I don't watch the news on TV much anymore. But, for the most part, life has returned to normal.
I'm due to exit the Army this fall, and with the amount of vacation time I've saved I should be on my way home by late July. There's still the worry of a possible "stop-loss" that will trap me here and send me back to Iraq for a second go, but hopefully that won't happen and I'll be able to turn back into one of the faces in the crowd in the US : ) I look forward to relaxing for a bit and then going to school. I'm hoping to study animal science with a specialty in equine studies, but I haven't made any concrete decisions on school yet. If I find somewhere to 'live and learn' I'd go for that, earning a paycheck (hopefully) while learning from experience. We'll see.
Overall, I'm blessed to have made it home safely and I'm praying for a chance to really start enjoying life this summer!
Thank you for reading my experiences, and feel free to email if you have questions - especially if you're looking at going to Iraq yourself. I appreciate the support that thousands of people offered all of us down-range, from the letters from school children to the adults sending books or donating money for supplies to be sent to us. Every little bit helped to keep us sane out there : ) God Bless and keep all of you.
SPC Rebecca Burt
US Army

Friday, January 30, 2004

I feel a real mix of feelings today - both happiness and a little sadness - as I prepare to head home and leave Iraq behind. I'm happy to be leaving this war torn area and heading back to an American base where I can walk the streets without fearing for my life, but I'm sad because I have made so many very close life-long friends while I've been here.
During my stay in Baghdad I have met an amazing array of American soldiers, Nepalese Gurkhas, Aussies, Brits and contract workers from accross the globe. I think that in one year here, I've met more high-quality people than in all my previous 23 years!
Every day when I head to chow, the smiling faces of over a dozen hard working Indian and Pakistani contractors greet me and these men who slave so hard to feed my belly have also fed my soul with their jokes, laughter and friendship.
WhenI visit the Al Rasheed or the CPA Palace, and during the month I spent pulling guard there, I get to chat with the highly skilled Gurkha soldiers of Nepal. I'd never thought of going to Nepal before, but after meeting such a fine section of their population - extremely polite and honorable men - it is at the top of my list for future travels. I was even lucky enough to learn the traditional game "back-chaul" from a good gurkha friend that I teasingly called "Jackie Chan II" for his simularity to the star.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Well I've finally calmed down from a case of the shakes that a mortar hit (a little too close to home) gave me last night.
I was sitting in our office on the phone talking to my dad when a huge boom sounded and the building shook. "Oh SHIT!!!"
We all dived for cover and I said a very hurried 'bye' to my dad. It only took a few seconds to throw on our gear.
When no more blasts followed after a few minutes, I retreated to a safer spot away from the big windows of the office (that I had been sitting right beside).
The blast had sounded to me like it hit the check point right out the front of the building, and one of our other soldiers, Christine Andreu, ran in with tears streaming down her face. "Oh my God! They hit check point 2!!" she screamed.
I grabbed the small medical bag I keep in the office and bolted for the door - the guys on check point two are MY boys - the 2/124th Infantry, Florida National Guard, and check point two has a number of guys on duty at any given time.
At the bottom of the stairs other guys from the unit were heading for the door too, including two of the medics. They looked alarmed and my heart jumped further into my throat. "Were'd it hit?" I asked as we ran toward the building's back doors (I figured an extra pair of hands never hurts, especially if many people were hurt).
"Check point three, out back" he replied.
Just outside the doors we met with the unit's third medic, Larkin, who was headed back towards the building. "What happened - anyone hit?" the others asked.
"I don't know," Larkin replied, visibly upset. "They wouldn't let me out there!"
The rest of us just looked at each other puzzled, but before we could do anything, everyone was ordered back inside the building. The medics were riled - not being able to react, but after a few minutes they were told that though one of the guys had taken a head dive out of the guard tower (he had seen the mortar coming towards him), no one was injured, and they headed back upstairs.
I myself went for a bit of a walk around the building - the idea my "family" here could have been hurt had really upset me. My hands were shaking pretty good from the sudden fright and the adrenaline. I knew I might have to deal with friends being hurt or killed out here, but I always prayed that I wouldn't have to. And to lose one of my guys only days before they were to return home... no.
Christine was in one of the lobbies calming down too.
"Do you know what happened?" she asked.
I told her that a mortar had landed near the check point, but just outside the compound wall and that it had protected the guys from being hit. "I can't believe I lost it like that," she said. "The idea of losing one of these guys... you know."
"Yeah. I know," I said. "They're family. Like brothers."
She sighed and walked back into the office. I waited for a few more minutes, watching the guys below the balcony trying to unwind from 'instant reaction' mode too.
After about an hour I headed home to bed but I had trouble sleeping. I couldn't stop thinking about what could have happened and flashing back to the Rasheed. One explosion like that is enough - I don't want to go through another. And yet, I feel like I might be able to make a difference if I happened to be involved again. Who knows... hopefully there won't be any more bombings to find out.

Monday, January 19, 2004

This morning as I was finishing up a guard shift (had just been released) at the Palace of the Four Heads (now the Coalition Provisional Authority HQ) I felt the building rumble. A major blast had occured somewhere - it felt like maybe right in the CPA parking lot - but no more blasts followed so I didn't think too much of it. I headed to the "JOC," (an area that houses representatives from all the major sections and reports to the general) to report my early duty release and pick up some mail, but didn't end up getting to do either - the JOC was a bustle of activity.
It turned out the blast was a little bigger than I thought - a car bomb near a check point known as "Assassin's Gate." I was shocked - the gate is quite a ways away from the palace and we really felt that blast!
I left the JOC asap so I wouldn't be blocking things up and headed back home - wishing that there was more I could do for the poor people out there. Assassin's Gate is a major thoroughfare for Iraqis.
One the walk home I ran into a medic on guard at one of our compounds who filled me in a bit on what was coming over the radio, and a civilian contractor who'd been waiting for workers near the gate (inside far enough to be safe - just barely) and had seen the damage. I felt like I should be over there making a difference, but I knew that the best soldiers for the job were already there - the JOC had instantaneously deployed first aid and security troops. There is very little that makes a soldier feel helpless, but incidents like this do it. All I could do was pray for all the people working so hard on the scene and for all the innocent people and their families.
I felt bad that I hadn't thought much about the initial blast - they happen ALL the time around here, and sadly, people are often hurt, but usually not too many and it's a fact of life in war. But when I heard how big the bomb was and how many people were hit I was shocked. The fact that someone would set one off at the Gate is awful in and of itself - the Gate is always crowded with local people, most heading in and out of the Green Zone for work or projects with humans rights groups. It's absolutely disgusting for these people to attack the innocent like this - they don't care whether they hit soldiers or not... actually they prefer NOT to - the innoccent can't shoot back like we can. This attack made my stomach roll - it's about as disgusting and cowardly as their attack on the Red Cross a few months ago. : ( The only other prayer I can throw in is that all these sick bastards die along with or building their damn bombs and that we'll run out of them some day...

CNN story on the blast:

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I hope this letter finds everyone healthy, happy and enjoying all the best of the Christmas season! I’m doing well – still in Baghdad, but redeployment gets a little closer every day!

This year was difficult for me, but filled with much deeper learning and discovery than even five easier years might have brought me, so I can’t complain.

The year started with a sloppy winter and mobilization in my new home of Heidelberg, Germany and quickly turned into a journey of discovery as I was deployed to the middle east in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terror.

I arrived in Kuwait at the beginning of March, amazed that any place on earth could have so much ‘nothing’. With temperatures upwards of 140*F, deep ash-like sand that has the ability to whip into sandstorms blocking view beyond a few feet and a horizon without a single plant or bump, Kuwait ranks as my ‘least pleasant stay’ of the year. The countryside wasn’t our only worry at the time either, as Saddam attempted to pelt our camps with SCUD missiles, sending everyone scurrying to cement and sandbag bunkers each time the air sirens whined. God’s grace and the talent of our Patriot batteries saved us from any direct hits, but the belief that chemical weapons could whiff in on the wind from even a miss kept nerves raw and gas masks close. The difficulties (forcing me to count on God), paired with several excellent chaplains, allowed my faith to grow and I was baptized in front of my fellow soldiers and Christians before we left Kuwait.

The announcement of the first push through Iraq’s protective berms along the border was met with cheers and the hope of moving on soon, but heavy attacks on incoming convoys set back our movement date by at least 2-3 weeks. I was excited but wary when we finally hit the road in late April. Luckily, the trip was a quiet one - though plagued by constant mechanical problems (my 5-ton truck’s thermostat blew and we kept overheating) and nervous by the sight of blown up Army vehicles (yes, ours) along the way, we didn’t meet with any more trouble than having to chase thieving kids out of our trailers. The trip offered a beautiful view of Iraq too, from the poorest ‘Feed the Children Ad’ Iraqis along the border, to salt marshes of central Iraq and on to the palaces of Baghdad.

Once in Baghdad we were assigned to a mini palace on the outskirts of one of Saddam’s palace compounds, now known as ‘Camp Victory’. At first perusal the building was FAR from a kingdom, but showed potential – a absolutely beautiful location, but badly looted and filthy. The looters went so far as to steal the building’s switch plates and there were several piles of… human excrement, among other things, that had to be cleared out of our ‘home’. After a good week of constant sweeping, scrubbing and preparing we had a fairly nice ‘summer home’ though, and enjoyed it until the General decided that the public affairs office needed to be in downtown Baghdad in order to control the media running rampant (and recklessly) through the city. I had enjoyed our island home, but wasn’t upset at the prospect of a change of scenery – the island was located eight beside an outer wall and a little too close to several attempted attacks. Had rats too.

And so it was that we moved into the infamous Al Rasheed Hotel (famous because reporters taped the first war from its roof top) and the Baghdad Convention Center in downtown Baghdad (after a brief week’s stay in the ‘palace of the four heads’ as rooms were reserved for us). Though touted as ‘Iraq’s finest resort’ the Rasheed may have ranked somewhere around Hotel 8 in the US – still, I had NO complaints! We had real beds for the first time in months and some privacy – both rare things in the field. When we moved in the hotel had very spotty power and even spottier water, meaning plenty of trips up ten floors of stairs after work and the continued omni-presence of the almighty baby wipe. Things consistently got better though, and before long power outs were rare and a handful of Iraqi shopkeepers had set up areas downstairs for soldiers to browse. The Hotel even opened a small night club where the latino boys from the 2/124th Infantry (who live on the first floor of the Convention Center) taught me how to salsa dance and meringue – LOTS of fun! Pools also opened at both the Palace of the Four Heads and the Rasheed, meaning lots of pool parties during hot evenings and days off. Life was pretty sweet – I had privacy, my own TV and VCD player, a bath tub and LOTS of friends to enjoy my evenings out with… I was really enjoying my time in Baghdad.

Then the attacks began…

The Rasheed was hit – badly. I’ve already written large letters home about this (contact my mom for a copy if you didn’t get it!) so I won’t get too in depth. I woke up to rockets rocking my Hotel and scenes that were reminiscent of movies like “Earthquake!” At the time, I was pumped so full of adrenaline that I wasn’t afraid, just excited and ready to react. It wasn’t until after I went back to the hotel to grab my gear for a full evacuation that I realize how close I had come to being seriously hurt or killed. I will always praise God for his protection on that day – looking at the damage in the building, Abbott and I were directly in the path of the blast but our room had less damage than many others further down the hall. It was if God stood at our door and said ‘come no further’ to the blast. After being evacuated, I ended up running around all day in my PJ’s – luckily one of my Florida infantry boys gave me a nice sweat shirt to keep me warm (and covered – my pj’s are a little flimsy).

After the Rasheed hit were moved into a building down the street from the Palace of the Four Heads - which is currently having the heads removed (wonder what we’ll call it now?). The place is nice enough, but I think we all miss the privacy we had; here we’re like 6 to a room. We have some children who live next door there though, and I like seeing them around and having them run to greet me when I come down the street. They’re usually begging for ‘choco-latte,’ which tends to be a very rare thing here – the heat melts it away instantly, but I often try to give them something when I can – small toys, candies or sodas. Somebody – either soldiers or contractors – took the time to hammer together a simple swing set at the end of our street and it’s almost always stacked with kids. Play ground equipment is rare here too – it was only for rich kids before.

I finally got a chance to visit home in mid-November and it was a MUCH needed break! I’m afraid I got a little sick while in Kuwait (sinuses : P ) so I spent almost the first week just sleeping, and I had a lot of trouble with my teeth (fixed by mom’s co-workers!), but just being home was amazing. I was getting so uptight and shaky, I REALLY needed a break! The chance to come home, and enjoy the silence and the small blessings was amazing! The ability to just walk outside whenever I wanted, wearing whatever I wanted, without having to worry about being shot is more of a blessing than you know! Being able to stroll into Walmart and buy anything your heart desires or able to jump into a car and drive anywhere without an armed escort are major blessings too. At the same time, I felt disgusted at how much wastefulness I saw – it is amazing how many Americans pour money down the drain; spending three times (or more) what they need to drive a ‘cool’ car, buying new furniture ‘just because’, throwing away clothing that’s out of style and tossing food because of some tiny imperfection… The people here in Iraq would go into shock if they saw how wasteful the US is. So many people here wear clothes into tatters and drive their cars until there’s literally nothing left, even many soldiers have to make do with similarly sorry supplies and poor living conditions. I swear, the rest of the world could get rich off of our dumps! Oh well…

I’ve learned an amazing number of life lessons this year – I almost feel as if several years have been stuffed into this one! I think my most important and useful lesson of all though is contentment. I don’t think I will ever really ‘need’ anything again. I just don’t think it will be hard to live with a nasty looking dresser (for example) after I’ve had to use nothing but cardboard boxes for the past year. And I’ll never curse eating mac n’ cheese for a month straight (when the money’s lean) because I’ve had to eat MRE’s before. Just EXISTING is something I can be thankful for. When I can home I found my self praising God for all kinds of tiny things we often don’t notice – the grass under my feet, the scent of a rose, that extra hour of sleep, oreos with a cold glass of milk… all of these things are things so many others don’t have. I guess ‘thankfulness’ would ride hand-in-hand with ‘contentment’. No matter how bad things get, they CAN get worse – so thank God that all you have to worry about is that leaky roof or the car’s oil leak… there are MUCH worse things you could be facing!

I’ve also finally learned how to just “be myself”. It’s something that’s SO much easier said than done, but actually living alongside so many people who see everything about you, you just give up on giving people any sort of ‘impression’. Even more surprising though, is that people like ME. All my life I’ve tried to figure out why people didn’t like me; why they teased me; why they gave me a hard time; it’s because I allowed it. Since I stopped worrying about what other people thought of me and just started saying and doing what I felt and wanted to do, people have drastically changed how they react to me. I’m not trying to brag, but I’m one of the most recognized faces in this area! When I returned from leave I actually had people – from the US, Australia, India, Pakistan, Nepal, all over – come up to me to tell me how they had missed me and how glad they were that I was back. I even got a few hugs! People say that I’m the happiest person they know. To my surprise, I’ve had people walk up and ask me what I do to make everyone in the room smile when I enter. I think it’s because I pray every night that people may see the spirit of Jesus in me – that his light would shine through me as an example to others. I know I smile all the time now – even when I don’t much feel much like it (and that makes other people smile too), and I try to care for, talk to and help everyone. If someone needs something, I’ll try to get it, if they need to talk I’m there to listen, and I don’t treat anyone as if they’re at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. Everyone from the janitors to the general gets the same treatment. All of this social activity is new to me –I’ve always been an introvert before, so the change kind of blows me away. But I do praise God for so many good friends!

Anyhow, that’s a quick summary of the year for me – it’s amazing how much has happened in just a few months, hmm? We’re slated to head home sometime in January or February and everyone is looking forward to being done. I know I feel done – ready to move on out of the Army all together! I should have about a year and a half left once I leave here – hopefully with no more deployments so I’ll be able to explore Europe! I can’t wait to be able to just kick back, curl up on a couch with a nice warm blanket and a cup of cocoa and watch the snow fall. I pray everyone at home is enjoying that treat already! ; )

Please continue to keep all of us over here in your prayers – almost everyday I hear a story from a soldier that tells of how prayer saved lives. It DOES make a difference, even if you don’t always see it and we all appreciate the few minutes of your day that you dedicate to us!

With much Love to everyone and wishes for warm holidays!

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

After the rocket attacks we had to return for our gear - at least enough for a few days until the area was safe enough to move out of fully. This is what I saw...

The Aftermath and the power of prayer

Truthfully, when the attack happened I was too busy concentrating on what I was doing and too hopped up on an adrenaline rush to feel scared. As strange as it may be, I felt excited, like you get when watching a good thriller.
But, later, when it was time for us to return to the building to retrieve our belongings (and well after the adrenaline wore off), I didn’t really relish the idea of going back inside. All of my instincts were telling me to stay out, like a donkey sitting on its haunches. Still, it had to be done. Everything we have was in there.
Walking through the front doors nothing seemed different. The lobby was spotless as usual and the hotel employees, though looking tired and worried, were happy to see those of us they recognized.
One of the freight elevators was working alright and I jumped in to head up to what was my room only hours before.
When we were escaping the blast, the smoke and dust was so thick that you could only see a few feet. Looking through that opaque screen had saved me from seeing the devastation the tenth floor had experienced – one of the worst hit floors in the building.
As the elevator doors opened on the tenth floor it was like stepping into a war zone (‘ha ha’… it IS a war zone). The thick smoke had cleared and I could see what had really happened to us and just how lucky I had been.
Our floor had scored at least one direct rocket hit in one of the rooms directly across form the elevators, and VERY close to my room. The hallway was full of rubble, plaster and cement pieces the size of driveway gravel, and chunks of wood and ceiling panels. Only a few lights in the hallway were functioning and everything was soaked with water, forming in puddles on the floor, from a burst water main.
A small area that used to have a coffee table and a few chairs, where I sat regularly to talk to friends if Abbott wasn’t well or to wait for my room key, simply didn’t exist anymore. The only sign among the rubble and piles of splinters that there were ever chairs there were the shrapnel studded seat pads.
Opposite the elevators, the area where our Gurka guard once stood is shattered as well. The podium he sat at was ripped loose from the floor and slammed down sideways, and the interior wall there (and in front of the non-existent chairs) simply didn’t exist anymore.
Light streamed through the hole, almost big enough to walk through, allowing me to see what had happened in what used to be a decent hotel room.
I was shocked at the level of damage.
The room looked just like a cave - the blast peeled all the wallpaper and wood paneling right off. There was almost nothing recognizable as furniture inside – in fact, it looked like someone had emptied a garbage truck inside. Anything that had been wood, was now simply splinters. The bed mattresses were stripped of their sheets and thrown on end, and glass and bits of clothing and personal things are everywhere. Even a section of the ceiling that used to house the room’s air conditioning unit was turned into a gaping hole, as well as the area where a row of windows used to be.
The bathroom was the only recognizable spot, and it still looked like a level 10 earth quake hit it, but the walls survived.
The rooms on either side of the main blast aren’t in much better shape, and the rooms two doors down look like burglars ripped them apart and smashed all the glass.
Looking at the damage scared me, and also made me realize just how lucky I was. A huge swath of the hotel around the rocket was destroyed or damaged, including the room beside me, and though we were inside that zone, my room was barely touched!
Yesterday, a very interesting and amazing fact occurred to me.
Mom and Dad, back home, have a whole brigade of people praying for me and GOD LISTENED. There is NO WAY we could have possibly come through that blast so well!!! We were directly in the path of the blast and even rooms much further down the hallways on both sides had mirrors shattered and ceiling panels popped out, yet our room had NO DAMAGE at all other than the door blowing in from the force of the blast – even our mirrors survived. And, neither Abbott nor I got so much as a splinter while several people further away had injuries from glass or shrapnel.
I mentioned this to another soldier, one of the 22nd Signal soldiers who works to supply us with internet and phone lines, and he said that he had a similar experience.
According to him, a rocket was headed straight for his room and exploded against the cement outside. Shockingly, though the windows of the rooms surrounding his were shattered and pocked with large chunks of shrapnel, nothing so much as hit his.
He said that he had a huge group of people praying for his safety at home too.
I know that many soldiers depend on strong prayer networks and ask people they don’t even know to pray – know I know very well why. It DOES make a difference.
Quite frankly, I believe that Abbott and I would have been badly injured – should have been, given the berth of the rocket – but weren’t because people cared enough for us to spend a few minutes a day praying for our safety.
I want to send out a VERY strong THANK YOU to everyone who has been praying for me, and for other soldiers!! Who knows how many other disasters may have been averted thanks to a well placed prayer?
And please, keep praying!

Lots of Love,
Rebecca Burt.

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