It wasn’t a surprise to most of us when the alert finally came. We didn’t know where we would go or what we would do, but we’d been expecting it for some time. Finally, on a warm June day, we were boarding chartered aircraft and heading to Camp Shelby, MS for training. Operation Iraqi Freedom had just become real for more than 600 men of the 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry.
Private Soldiers attempts to tell the story of the men who served in the 2-127th Infantry through images, interviews, and letters. It is not a book about famous Generals and politicians who led the war or the politics of why we were there. Instead, the intent is to tell the story of Wisconsin’s citizen Soldiers, what they did and how they lived far away from home.
While a book can tell a story there are many things that it cannot capture. The bravery of men, some barely old enough to vote, making split-second decisions that could mean life or death for themselves, their brothers, or innocent Iraqi civilians, the selflessness of two Soldiers who attempted to rescue a vehicle crew from a burning gun truck, or the professionalism of a medic who was able to treat an Iraqi woman seriously injured in a vehicle crash.
The images and descriptions show the war as we saw it. How we trained, the missions that we conducted, the places we called home, the ways we kept busy, and finally coming home. Private Soldiers devotes an entire chapter to remembering those who were killed or wounded in action. Through the interviews the Soldiers and local Iraqis tell their stories in their own words.
Nearly 10 years later I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to serve with the Soldiers of this unit and it has been an honor to contribute to Private Soldiers.
Join Joseph Streeter this Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11, 2014 at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts in La Crosse, WI to hear more of the story. Click here for more information on the event.
Interested in buying a copy of the book? Buy online today!