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Central Ohio Iraq War Veterans Reflect On Service
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As the war in Iraq ends this month, service members of the Ohio National Guard reflect on their time in Iraq, and what lies ahead for the country.
For central Ohioans who served in Iraq, the memories are still fresh.
“They were on both sides of us, in the houses, on top of the roofs, and it literally turned, it was like something from the movies at that point in time, a lot of shooting,” says Army Staff Sgt. Karr.
Karr remembers the scariest moments he lived through as a machine gunner in a fuel delivery convoy. Insurgents attacked the lead vehicle.
“It was after the adrenalin wore off that my ears were ringing, my head was pounding from more than likely a concussion from the explosion,” says Karr.
Karr served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 as an Army reservist. His unit patrolled Tikrit, the hometown of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and other cities. They also performed security operations. Karr now works for the Department of Defense and is an Ohio National Guardsman.
He says while he stays out of the politics of why the war began in Iraq, he has mixed emotions about it.
“I think if you open a can of worms you’d better finish it until it’s done. Right, wrong or indifferent we were there. We turned a whole world upside down, a whole generation and changed their way of life, for better or for worse,” says Karr.
Karr says from his perspective, Iraqis appreciated him and other American troops.
“From what I saw, it’s just one experience that even the adults especially doing a lot of security for civil affairs missions were very happy that we were there,” says Karr.
Army Staff Sgt. Nicholas Pavlik served 2 tours of duty in Iraq. He joined the military out of high school and knew that he could be sent to a war zone. He travelled with the Central Command Team and reported on events of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“I’ve never analyzed why we were there. I just have a job to do, I’m a Broadcast Journalist and I’m going to do my job to the best of my ability and I think that’s the opinion of most soldiers,” Pavlik says.
Pavlik worked with a marine unit training the Iraqi Army.
“It was really an interesting experience, because with the cultural differences between us and the Iraqis, it was really incredible to see us and them to work together for one common goal, for them to provide security and stability for their own country.” says Pavlik.
Pavlik hopes that Iraqis will succeed as they build a new government, a new country.
“Giving them the tools necessary to provide security and their own stability for their country, you know, it makes me very proud to know that I played a part in that,” says Pavlik.