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, 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

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