Monday, April 17, 2006

In the Sandbox...

Combat Pay Explained

I can explain why troops deployed to Kuwait and Baghdad are paid as much combat pay as anyone else in Iraq.

I am stationed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. We run escort missions from Kuwait to anywhere in Iraq. My unit has experienced everything from small-arms fire to bomb attacks. To be engaged by the enemy is something expected every time we roll across the border.

Almost all of the units I have run into in Kuwait have something to do with transportation into Iraq. We provide the comforts that you are able to buy at the post exchange, food that you eat at your chow halls, or new vehicles that you drive to accomplish your mission.

As for long lines to use the phone and slow Internet, soldiers deployed to Kuwait are not excluded. We use the phones soldiers use in Iraq because 80 percent of our deployment is spent in forward operating bases from Mosul to Camp Bucca. When we sleep at bases we travel to, we are woken up by mortar fire, small-arms fire and roadside bombs, as well.

Baghdad is one of the most dangerous in Iraq. The soldiers in Baghdad have missions that put them in danger on the road as well. I see many troops leaving Baghdad International Airport every night to help clear roads and enemy activity for us.

To deny another soldier the same pay I get for pulling a mission that helps me accomplish my mission is ignorance. The mission we run now out of Kuwait is more dangerous and frustrating. To be honest, I would trade all this in Kuwait for being stationed in Iraq.

-Spc. Bryan R Lentz, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

girls of the Coast Guard...
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