Thank you for your fantastic letters! I loved reading every single one of them and each one put a BIG smile on my face. You all asked some great questions in your letters and I will try my best to answer them all:
1. What is the room like where you live and sleep?
I have a very little room where I live and sleep. Mostly it is just a place to sleep when I’m not working. My room is probably smaller than your bedrooms. I have a bed, a small wall locker which is like a closet, a small dresser, and a chair. I don’t need much room because I spend most of my time at work.
2. What do you eat there?
I eat very normal meals, much the same as if I were at home. We have a large cafeteria that we call a dining facility or a mess hall. All the food is brought over from the United States so I get a great variety to choose from. I have to say that the food here is very good. I can even have Baskin Robbins ice cream for dessert whenever I want too!
3. What do you do?
My job is a Soldier in the Army. I’m an officer so that means I have to lead other Soldiers and help them to do their job. Mostly what I do is make plans that will hopefully help our guys capture the bad guys and make them want to surrender so the war will end.
4. What kind of weapons do you carry and are they heavy?
All Soldiers carry a pistol, rifle, or machine gun. I carry a pistol that is called a 9 Millimeter. My pistol is very light. Some rifles can get rather heavy if you have to carry them for a long time without a rest. Almost all machine guns are very heavy. It’s a lot of fun to shoot a machine gun but it’s not much fun to carry one!
5. Have you ever driven a tank?
Yes, I have driven a tank. It was a long time ago, though, and I do not drive them here in Iraq. I had lots of fun when I was driving a tank. It’s way better than making plans like I’m doing now!
6. Is it hot or cold there?
It’s both hot and cold here. Iraq is just one big desert. You probably think a desert is always hot and dry. Well, I can tell you that the desert also gets pretty cold in the winter. The temperature here at night right now usually gets down to nearly freezing. However, in the summer time, it gets up to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit.
7. Are there a lot of camels running around?
I’m pretty sure there are but I have never seen any of them. I’ll keep looking though!
8. Do you have any friends in Iraq?
I have lots of friends here. Many of them are people I came here with when we left Hawaii. Many of them have children in school just like me. I hope they are getting letters from their son or daughter’s classmates like I did! I also have made some friends since I got here. They are Iraqi people who want to help us win the war. I’m very lucky to meet some of the great people of Iraq and become their friend.
9. Do you think the bad guys will surrender and we will win the war?
I don’t think the bad guys will ever completely surrender but I do think we will win the war. As long as the people of Iraq want to have a free and safe country, we will win this war. The bad guys will eventually start to just give up when they realize the good people of Iraq do not want them here anymore.
10. Where do you fight the war?
Much of the fighting is in cities. It is extra difficult to fight a war in a city because the bad guys have a lot of places to hide and it can be hard to find them. Lately the good people of Iraq want the bad guys to leave so they are telling us where they are hiding. That has made our job a lot easier and a lot safer!
11. What is war like?
War is no fun at all. I wish there were no wars anywhere. If there was no war, we would all be happy and Soldiers would be home with their families. It’s too bad there are so many bad guys out there who want to have wars against the good guys.
12. Do you like it in Iraq?
Honestly, I do not like it here much. The main reason is because I have to be away from my family for such a long time. There are some good things about Iraq though. The best thing is the people I have met here. They want to have a country like ours where we are free.
13. Have you ever gotten hurt?
I have not been hurt so far and I hope and pray that I won’t get hurt during my time here. I want to come home the same way I left. And now for the most asked question of all…
14. What do the bad guys look like?
This is a hard question to answer because the bad guys look very much like the good guys on the outside. They wear the same type of clothes, speak the same language, and live in houses and drive cars just like those belonging to the good guys.
The difference is how the bad guy looks on the inside. Bad guys have a lot of hatred in their hearts. All they want to do is hurt the good people and make the country of Iraq a place that is no fun to live.
Most of the people of Iraq are good though and they are tired of having the bad guys around. This is true everywhere isn’t it?
The best way to make the bad guys go away is for the good guys to make a stand and say, “We don’t want any more bad guys here so you need to just go away!”
Wow! That sure was a lot of questions! I hope everyone got their questions answered and I did not leave anyone out. I also hope you will write to me again in the future. You can either write to me again as a class or you can send me a letter from home. Be sure to ask your parents first, though!
– Matthew’s Dad