(Host) David Swan of Chazy, New York commanded 27 men in the Vermont National Guard.
As part of Task Force Saber, Swan’s unit patrolled in the Tamim area of Iraq.
Swan says few days passed without incident.
Today, as we conclude our series of "Soldier Stories," he describes one particular battle and talks about how his experiences in Iraq will stay with him.
(Swan) "The gun trucks were roving through the town. They came into an ambush, probably seven insurgents that ambushed them with heavy machine gun fire. And the squad leader started maneuvering his men. We returned fire and ended up killing two insurgents at that point. And then we started doing house searches after that to see if we could get any more insurgents."
"The houses were your typical third world kind of houses. Some people had nice furniture. Some people would have just a mattress on the floor. A lot of people were driving around in Mercedes but they wouldn’t have anything in the house."
"I feared more for my men’s sake than I did for my own sake. That was the hardest part for me cause I was in command of the twenty-seven guys there and it was pretty hard to you just never know what was going to happen next, five minutes from now or a day from now."
"I had one soldier that was severely wounded. He lost an eye and his the pinky on his one hand. And he had a leg injury."
"We had a lot of injuries due the IEDs. When the IEDs would impact, a lot of guys would suffer concussions."
"I think that there’s some things that unless you were there, you’re not going to understand. And you won’t be able to discuss, you know, things that happen over there or people that didn’t actually come home with us – people from my company that didn’t come home. You know, that’s very hard difficult situations to deal with."
"I personally don’t think I have too many mental issues. But I know that you just can’t do a year in combat and expect to come home after seeing so many traumatic events, life altering events that aren’t normal to everyday life and to not be scarred some way."
(Host) David Swan of Chazy New York with the conclusion of our series.
Soldier Stories was produced on location at Camp Shelby, Mississippi by Chris Albertine and Steve Zind.