Stop-Lossed Army Captain Checks In from Iraq

Capt. Nate Rawlings, 26-year-old aspiring writer, provides an update from Iraq and talks about how he's faring during his second tour. NPR recently profiled Rawlings, who was stop-lossed, and has been following his progress.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

Here on Day to Day, we've been staying in touch with one young soldier, Captain Nate Rawlings. He is serving his second tour in Iraq.

ALEX COHEN, host:

Tomorrow we'll hear an interview with him. Here's a preview, but our apologies for the sound quality. He called us from the south of Baghdad on his cell phone. He explained how his work there is different this time around.

Captain NATE RAWLINGS (Soldier, Iraq): Last year was a little different, because stories were coming out of central Baghdad, and they would tend to freak my mother out and she'd be afraid. And then I'd say, mother, Baghdad is the size of Detroit. I was in a totally different area. But generally, once when you get down to this level where the soldiers bowl daily and go outside the wire and try to avoid bombs and rocket-propelled grenades, we really just take each other and try to do our job as best we can. And we get great supportive emails and great supportive letters from all of our friends and family. So that means the most to us. And then we know that as soon as there's a new president, he or she - I guess now he - will make a determination on what we do in Iraq. And then it will maybe come back to the forefront of the news. But I don't think that affects anyone too much.

BRAND: We profiled Captain Nate Rawlings back in April. He's been stop-lossed. Captain Rawlings is an aspiring writer, and we've been asking listeners to write to him.

Capt. RAWLINGS: I've gotten a real variety of questions, people asking what we do in our spare time, what food we eat, what sort of magazines we read. And all the way to, you know, kind of heavy-hitting questions about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for homosexuals in the military, whether I think we really should be here.

COHEN: You can find excerpts of some of these question and answer exchanges plus an update on what Captain Nate Rawlings is up to. It's at our Web site, npr.org/nate. We'll have an update on the flooding in the Midwest when Day to Day continues.

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