As we near the 10-year anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq, Yahoo News asked U.S. servicemen and women who served to share their perspectives and discuss how it changed them. Here's one story.
FIRST PERSON | My name is Michelle Sisco (Rosenberger), and I served in Iraq from 2003 to 2004 when I was 24. I served with the 724th MP BN from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. We were activated in November of 2002. We left for Ft. Dix, N.J., to mobilize our unit on Jan. 2, 2003, arrived in Kuwait in February, and arrived in Camp Bucca, Iraq, in March. We eventually exited Iraq back to Kuwait in January 2004. We were demobilized in February back at Ft. Dix once again.
Camp Bucca was named after 1SG & Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca of the 800th MP Brigade and FDNY. Fire Marshal Bucca made it all the way to the impact zone of the south tower on 9/11. His company the 800th MP Brigade was our higher headquarters. The 800th MP BDE named the camp after him.
We were tasked of setting up the largest prison camp of the war. We arrived late March from Kuwait and started setting up the camp. We had to set up the barbed wire for the compounds. We also had to set up our tents for where we slept at night. One thing I would have done differently is have air conditioning set up for the summer time. We did not have air conditioning until late August. It did not get below 100 degrees at night very difficult to sleep in to say the least.
When we finally started receiving prisoners my job was to take a specific compound and feed those prisoners. We fed them pita bread, curry beef or chicken, rice, jam, butter and tea. The food was put in large trash cans and we would drive our Deuce and a Half from the facility to the prisoners. We would feed the prisoners and then bring the containers back to the dining facility. This was my job until we left in January 2004.
I am a different person since I know I'm part of the 1 percent who served on the Global War on Terrorism. I feel pride when I can say I'm an Iraqi Freedom Veteran and I served my country. I also think it changed the military since we could not help people who are suicidal. We needed to have counseling in place before these men and women came back. A lot of them were rejected by the Veterans Administration when they needed help, and now they are not with us. It also changed the nation since we had numerous people lose limbs and others who gave their life for freedom. The family, friends of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice will always have the great memories but that does not bring them back.
I now live in Ft Myers, Fla., where I purchased a home using my VA loan two years and nine months ago. I feel honored that I can say I used my VA loan since I defended freedom. I have a job at a 7-Eleven in Bonita Springs since I was military so I can thank my service for finding myself a job.
I am now on a committee in Cape Coral, Fla., to have the first Iraq War Monument to honor everybody who served in Iraq, including all the people who gave their life for freedom.
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