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A Soldier Talks About the Mission in Iraq and Why He Serves

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A Soldier Talks About the Mission in Iraq and Why He Serves

The Impact of War

A Soldier Talks About the Mission in Iraq and Why He Serves

A Soldier Talks About the Mission in Iraq and Why He Serves

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/4668433/4668434" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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We hear from 33-year-old Staff Sgt. Larry Gregory. On foot patrol in Baghdad, Gregory offers his thoughts on the mission in Iraq and why he serves.

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

We're hearing from American soldiers in Iraq this week in their own words. It's part of our series The Span of War. Today, the thoughts of a 33-year-old Army sergeant on foot patrol in eastern Baghdad.

Staff Sergeant LARRY GREGORY (US Army): All right. I'm Staff Sergeant Larry Gregory. I'm from Mississippi. I'm serving in Iraq with the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment in Delta Company.

See, and to me, this is more fun than sitting up in a Bradley all day 'cause that's just a heat box. I'd rather be out here walking the streets. I mean, it's actually fun. I get to see different parts of this town so far that I haven't seen or parts that I have and thinking to myself that we're making a difference by doing this. You know, I'm hoping there's nobody, you know, back in the States that's thinking that, you know, `Oh, this can be done overnight or a couple months even.' This is going to take a while.

It made a difference in some parts in a small way. It's cleaned up the streets, the people are more responsive to you, not as many kids throwing rocks at you, you know. Somebody asked me before, `Well, why do you got to go? Why do you got to do this?' I'm, like, `You know what? If I didn't do it, it'd be somebody else's son or somebody else's brother.' I says, `So, you know, while I'm able to do it, I will, or I'll come back as long as I have to.'

To me, it doesn't matter if it's Iraq, Afghanistan or what. To me, doing this and knowing that people back home can sleep safely at night and they don't have to come do it--or, you know, even, you know, guys that were in Vietnam or World War II, they know what it's like. And, you know, they've done their part, they can't do their part anymore, it's time for my generation and the next generations, you know, to pick up and do what we got to do.

(Soundbite of vehicle traffic; music)

BLOCK: Staff Sergeant Larry Gregory with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division. He's currently at a forward operating base in eastern Baghdad.

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