Host) As a member of Task Force Saber, Jordan Paquette of Fairfax spent a year patrolling the streets of Ramadi, Iraq.
He talks about his impressions of the town and its people and the lessons he learned during his deployment.
(Paquette) "Ramadi is, I haven’t really seen much other parts of Iraq, but from what I’ve seen, it’s pretty well developed for what they have, it’s a small village, a lot of sheep herding. I was surprised at how civilized it was, as far as how they have their towns set up, it was actually I was kind of impressed actually. I thought it would be more of mud huts and stuff like that but some of the buildings were actually, inside, we did raids and stuff like that were actually very impressive, multiple story houses and very elegant work done inside the building. So, it was actually, surprisingly very nice."
"At the beginning, they were kind of shy and didn’t know really how to accept us as military soldiers, but after a while they would come outside, you kind of tell that they would accept us because they’d come outside, and they’d have their children play outside. That’s a good sign that they respect you because if their children are outside they feel safe enough to let their children play. So that made us feel good. We have pictures with some of the kids, you know, holding their thumbs up, which is really good, you know, letting them know that they support what’s going on, they’re excited for us to be there because we want them to feel safe as long as we’re safe."
"So as far as the military is concerned it’s one of the most dangerous places to be. There’s a point where I was on one of the OP’s and a sniper shot ended up hitting the ground about five feet from me. At that point, I was like, ok, it’s real now. We’re not playing any more, it’s real, what’s going on."
"And before I left, I know a lot of things I took for granted. My parents are always going to be there, my sisters are always going to be there. And the one time you come over here and they’re not there. You’re like, man. It’s that one piece you really miss and you really want to have, but just remember that it’s the small things that matter. The small things, telling your family that you do care and you do love them because there may be one day where that round that hits five feet from you ends up tagging you and you won’t be able to come home."
(Host) That was Jordan Paquette of Fairfax. Tomorrow in Soldier Stories Timothy Tanner of Barre Town talks about the bond formed among the soldiers he served with. You can find all of our Soldier Stories at vpr.net.