Monday, January 02, 2006

A Girl Goes To War

A great article on a young woman who joined the army at war time and is now preparing to deploy to Iraq:

LYNDON, Kan., Dec. 31 - When she signed up for the Army in 2004, Katherine Jordan had little to say about war. Asked about Iraq at the time, she said she was far more concerned about the rigors of basic training and more focused on the fear that she might wind up here, in her hometown of 1,000, never amounting to much.[snip]

"I don't know all the facts as much as I should," said Private Jordan, of the First Armored Division, 501st Forward Support Battalion, as she sat in her childhood home here. "What I know is that we're protecting our country still. We're concentrating on keeping insurgents away from the United States."

If Private Jordan was once ambivalent about Iraq, she now seems certain she wants to go. She said she knows that her job, as one of only a few female mechanics in her unit, could send her out to pick up disabled vehicles - potential targets for attack. Still, she said, she is more excited than nervous. And she is already anticipating the higher paychecks she will make in a war zone; she said she hopes to save $15,000 so she can buy a car when she gets home.

"Honestly," she said, "a lot of my friends like Iraq. It's not as bad as people say."

Private Jordan said she felt prepared for the situation on the ground in Iraq. Her unit has trained for months, she said, to understand the nature of roadside bombs, to scan for out-of-place objects and to consider anyone a possible suspect.[snip]

During one of several dinners in Private Jordan's honor, her uncle, Gene Jordan, another veteran who is now 62, quietly passed her a shell casing from an M-14. He said he had carried it with him all through his Marine tour in Vietnam and wanted her to carry it now. It brought him luck, he said.

He had but one piece of advice for his niece: Keep your tail down.[snip]

In three years, Private Jordan's enlistment will be over. She said she had yet to decide whether to make the military a career and extend her service or to leave and do something else, perhaps back here in Lyndon. "If the war in Iraq ends, I might get out, because what's the point of being in then?" she said. "But if another war is happening, I could get back in full time, that's what I'm thinking."

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