MN Veteran Prepares To Return To Iraq
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In Iraq, Sunni militants continue pushing towards Baghdad.
The militants have released video reportedly showing the moments before fighters executed Shiites serving in the Iraqi Army.
President Obama is sending 275 troops to Iraq to protect U.S. personnel and the American Embassy, but some lawmakers want the president to quickly provide a plan to address the threat.
After two tours in Iraq, Landon Steele is preparing to return.
“I’m a medic and a linguist, and we got people suffering over there. If I have the ability to do something about it, I’m going to do it. My oath of enlistment in the military may be over but my commitment to the cause is still there,” said Iraq Veteran Landon Steele.
Steele says he and others who deployed to Iraq have a special tie to that country.
“You don’t continuously deploy to a country multiple times without forming relationships with the locals there. They become a part of your extended family, just like your military family,” Steele said.
It’s the uncertainty of what will happen to the people the military relied on to help complete their mission that concerns Steele the most.
“We’re scared for the civilians we left behind there. We’re heartbroken to watch something you built for almost a decade fall apart in 48 hours,” Steele said.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has taken much of Iraq’s northern territory and continues to move toward the capital city of Baghdad.
Steels say when he sees images of what is going on now it makes him wonder what the story would be if boots were still on the ground in Iraq.
“When they pulled us out not too long ago, told us that we were leaving a more stable and secure Iraq, and those of us who actually fought there kind of looked at each other and said I’m not sure what country they are talking about because they are not ready for it. We all predicted this. It was a matter when it was going to happen,” Steele said.
Steele will return to Iraq as a military contractor sometime this summer.
Not all Iraqi veterans feel the same as Steele. There are many different opinions but all seem to agree that once the insurgents reach Baghdad, the real fighting will begin. Most vets don’t believe the people of Baghdad will give up without a fight.