In His Own Words: Sgt. Jesus Gonzales

This week, as part our The Span of War series, we've been hearing from soldiers about their experiences in Iraq. Today, 40-year-old Sgt. First Class Jesus Gonzales from the Army's 3rd Infantry Division, Battalion One Six Four Armor, talks to NPR's Ben Gilbert.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

American servicemen and women in Iraq sometimes struggle with what to tell their spouses about their experiences and what to keep to themselves. This week, we've been hearing from soldiers about their tours in Iraq in their own words as part of NPR's Span of War series. Today, a 40-year-old sergeant posted in southeast Baghdad.

Sergeant First Class JESUS GONZALES (3rd Infantry Division): My name's Sergeant First Class Jesus Gonzales. I'm from Victoria, Texas. I've been in the Army for 19 years, currently living in Richmond Hill, Georgia. I'm deployed with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division.

Me and my wife have been married for going on 17 years. So she's used to deployments, I'm used to deployment centers, like that. She sometimes asks me about our patrols and stuff like that, and I'll try not to worry her too much. I'll just try to keep it nice and mild--we're going out at such-and-such a time, or we'll be back such-and-such time. I don't tell her what kind of things that are going on out here. She knows every once in a while, you know--she can tell by the tone of my voice that something might have happened.

And--the other night, we were doing route security on Pluto, and halfway into it I saw a couple tracer rounds come at me, you know, as far as at--and my vehicle. And I told her about it. And so she asked me, she said, `Well, what happened?' I said, `Well, I got shot at the other night.' And she goes, `Well, did you kill them?' I said, `No, unfortunately not. I couldn't find them.' But--so, as long as she knows that everything's OK, she's OK. I mean, it's--she's a pretty strong woman. I mean, I don't know, I guess I got really lucky as far as that goes. And I can't wait till I see her again. It'll be soon. I'll be going home in August. We'll get to spend some together, you know? So the only thing I can say is if that my wife ever hears this, I love you and I'll be home soon.

SIEGEL: That's Sergeant Jesus Gonzales of the 3rd Infantry Division's battalion 1-64 Armor. He spoke to correspondent Eric Westervelt and producer Ben Gilbert.

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