Engaged in combat

Here's a comment from reader Brenda Thorson:

Jay, I am thrilled about the articles re: Iraq and all the work Nate Howard and the P-B are doing! My sister, SSGT Laurie Tuohy, is with 50th MSB 24th ID Bravo Co. at FOB Speicher.  She is a great "gal," my best friend!  She and I and my other five siblings grew up with the military.  My father is a veteran of 3 wars (WWII, Korea and Vietnam) and my mother is a Korean War veteran.

Female soldiers rarely get the recognition they deserve.I often catch terminology referring to soldiers as "the boys," "the guys," "our men over there," etc.  You made such a reference in a note to Nate when you indicated "the guys." I know that often the terms are used as a general reference to the soldiers but I am particularly sensitive and will try to correct any such reference when able.

There is a myth that female soldiers are not assigned to combat zones.  What most do not realize is that the lines are not drawn in Iraq and the entire country is a combat zone. My sister's convoy was attacked last week. The engagement lasted nearly three hours. One of the soldiers being escorted by my sister's convoy (his troop is from Kentucky) was killed. He was pronounced dead as my sister and another soldier performed CPR on him. Several other soldiers were wounded and she attended to them until the medics arrived and they were either transported to base or airlifted in a Black Hawk. The remaining soldiers were engaged in fire exchange and at times my sister had to make the decision to order her troops to cease fire because it was hard to distinguish civilians. This is as "engaged in combat" as it gets!

Again Jay, thanks to you and Nate and others from the P-B for bringing us the updates.  This is so different than when my father was in Vietnam and as a teenager I would sit in front of the TV praying (against all probability) that I might see him in the background. Communication from him was extremely rare and, needless to say, the attitude toward our  troops was less than respectful. I never thought I would see the day my "little sister" was sent off to war but having the P-B's work makes the ordeal a little less isolating.

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