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Minnesota National Guard
A day in the life of a Soldier

photos courtesy of adam wander Adam Wander rides in his Humvee His unit is responsible for providing security for convoys moving from Southern Iraq into the north/central region around Baghdad
Members of C Company include (front, from left) Sgt Ryan Welle and Sgt Mike Kulzer; (back) Sgt Matt Imdieke, Adam Wander and Sgt Chad Minette
A day in the life of a Soldier
Community support "overwhelming"� for C Company
C Company I-194 AR Soldiers based out of the Sauk Centre National Guard have been deployed to Iraq, as part of Iraqi Freedom, since March of 2006 They are expected to return home this summer

The Sauk Centre Herald emailed Adam Wander, son of Don and Mary Wander of rural Padua, the following questions which he answered as follows:

Q: Where exactly are you in Iraq?

A: I am currently stationed with C Company 1-194 AR out of Sauk Centre, Minnesota Our company is based out of Tallil Air Base/Camp Adder in Southern Iraq

Q: What are your duties as a Soldier?

A: Our unit is tasked with providing security for convoys moving from Southern Iraq into the North/Central region around Baghdad I, personally, am assigned as a gunner in a Humvee

Q: Can you describe a typical day for you?

A: Due to the increased danger during the day, most of our missions are run during the night Most of us in C Company have adapted our sleeping schedules in order to correspond to that Many of our daylight hours are spent sleeping On mission days, we get up and begin to prepare ourselves for the upcoming mission This includes performing maintenance on our gun-trucks, establishing radio communication between gun-trucks, mounting machine guns, and checking to ensure everyone has the proper equipment to carry out the mission Our days between missions are spent following up on any mechanical issues with trucks, cleaning weapons, and getting caught up on the latest intelligence that may be of importance to us in the future

Q: Is Iraq what you expected? What was the biggest surprise for you?

A: Iraq was not as I expected it to be I knew it would be hot, but I didn't know it would be this hot We arrived in March of 2006, and even then, it was much hotter than I imagined it would be Little did I know it was only going to get warmer and warmer as the summer went on That had to be the biggest surprise for me How hot it gets here is borderline ridiculous I recall times during last summer when it never dropped below 100 degrees for days on end, even at night the temperature was in the triple-digits I know that after I get home, I will never complain about a Minnesota summer again

Q: Does the media give an accurate report of what is going on in Iraq?

A: I think the media has turned the Iraq war into something that it is not Before US intervention, the people of this country had little to no control over their own lives Instead of focusing on the positive things that we are doing for the people here, the national media seems to be using this war as little more than a political bargaining chip More specifically, in recent months, the war has been used simply to help or inhibit the causes of candidates for the 2008 presidency Granted, the war is a big topic, and it deserves attention, however, it just seems to me like they are focusing on it for the wrong reasons

Q: What were your feelings when you heard your deployment would be extended?

A: Coping with the extension was pretty much a three-phase process The first phase was denial I think nearly everyone woke up the day after we found out, and thought it was all just a bad dream Once the realization set in that we would be staying, the denial turned to anger Some people stayed in the anger phase for longer than others, but before long, the anger turned to acceptance Once that phase set in, we were ready to drive on and finish the job we were sent here to do

Ultimately, the goal remains the same That goal is to get all of us back safely to our families and loved ones back home

Q: Did the extension affect the morale of the Soldiers in your unit?

A: As I commented on before, for the first couple weeks, a number of the Soldiers in the unit were upset I think, however, that we've all moved on and are ready to finish up and get home

Q: What do you miss most from home?

A: There are so many things I miss from back home, I don't really know where to start Other than my fiancA��e, Katie, and my family, I guess one could say that the thing I miss the most is civilian life as a whole The small things that are usually taken for granted are the things a person misses the most when they are taken away from them It will definitely be nice to get home and start living the life of an ordinary 23-year-old college student again

Q: How often do you communicate with family members?

A: I try to check in with my family about once a week With the combination of e-mail and telephones, it makes communication fairly easy Although there have been times where the situation hasn't allowed me to contact them for an extended period of time, for the most part, we stay in contact pretty well

Q: Have you seen any military conflict?

A: In a year of being in the country there have been several instances in which we received enemy contact The majority of the roads we travel do not allow for enemy combatants to stand up and fight us toe to toe Therefore, the biggest threat to us is Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) Our unit has been fortunate to have eluded any major injuries thus far, and we hope that we can keep that going until we return home

Q: What do you like best about being a Soldier?

A: One of the things I like best about being a Soldier is the tradition that I am able to be a part of Not only the Army customs, but the military background that runs in my family My grandfather was a World War II veteran, and my father is a veteran of the Vietman War A small percentage of people can say they have stood up and served our great nation I can, and it is a great point of pride for me When my children read about the Iraq war and the fall of Saddam Hussein, they'll ask me, and I can say that I was there

Q: What is the worst part about being a Soldier in this war?

A: This is not a popular war It's not easy to stand up and fight for a cause that so many people are against It's such a major controversy, and we're stuck in the middle Hopefully, with time, people can look past the politics and take the time to see all the good we have done here

Q: Any additional comments or stories to tell that would be of interest?

A: I would like to take this time to thank the Sauk Centre community and the surrounding area for its overwhelming support of C Company throughout our deployment The Blue Star Mothers and Family Readiness Group have been an invaluable asset to us Soldiers over the past 18 months We truly look forward to coming home to see everyone again

4/24/2007 10:23:00 AM
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