News from Iraq brings sad feelings to those who served our military inside that country. For many soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen, this new wave of violence is something they’re all too familiar with.
The California National Guard sent thousands of men and women to Iraq between 2003 and 2011, one of them is sad to see the violence continuing after all of this time.
“Just seeing some of the open hostilities in northern Iraq, and it looks like it’s getting worse,” said Major Brandon Hill of the California National Guard. Major Hill knows about the violence in Iraq all too well.
“You really feel for the people who have to go through the ups and downs of what it’s like to live in an area that is experiencing sectarian violence,” said Maj. Hill. He was deployed to Iraq twice while serving with the 101st airborne, first for a year in 2005, and then again in 2007. “It got better every day, we saw security increase, the economy started to prosper, the people of Iraq started to believe in their own government.”
When he left the country, Hill and his fellow soldiers did not feel like they were abandoning it. “I know that when we left Iraq, we had a trained Iraqi Army and Iraqi police force that we were proud of,” said Maj. Hill. But now that force has so far failed to stop insurgences from taking over city after city.
Hill now serves full-time with the California National Guard, a branch which between 2003 and 2011 sent more than 13,000 troops to Iraq, 26 of whom never made it back home alive. He says it is those sacrifices this country made that makes seeing what’s happening in Iraq today so difficult. “It’s something that I look on with all my experience and sacrifices we all made overseas. It’s obviously a little disheartening to see.”
Since 9/11, the California National Guard has deployed 40,000 men and women to Afghanistan and Iraq. 29 of them were killed.