I found this letter a while doing an online search for news of the return of my son's regiment from Iraq. He's with the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment out of Fort Carson, Colorado, and is just finishing up a year-long tour of duty in Bahgdad and Tal Afar. The letter brought me to tears, and is in sharp contrast with what our media has been feeding us about the Iraqi occupation. Written from the Mayor of Tal Afar to the soldiers of the 3rd ACR and their commander, Col. MacMaster, who in my opinion is a modern-day hero and is helping to shape the future of Iraq:
Iraqi mayor thanks American troops
The following comes from Col. Ren Hart. We know this is happening – we just don’t hear it enough.
John B. Dwyer
As I’m sure you know, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment has been serving in Iraq (its second deployment there) for the past year.
As the regiment prepares to come home, it has received the letter pasted below. I believe many of you will find it an interestingcounterpoise to much of what we read in the press.
From: Mayor of Tall ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq
In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful
To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.
To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.
To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.
Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpsesof children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zuma and Avgani finally destroyed them.
I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.
The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom.
Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.
God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and inevery flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.
Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.
NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID
Mayor of Tall ‘Afar,
God Bless the people of Iraq and God Bless their leaders who are working so hard to find some semblence of a future for their children. I am immeasurabely proud of my son for his contribution to this cause. He wrote so eloquently about Stevan's regiment. I don't know if I can find words to better express the way I feel, how proud I am. My son and his fellow soldiers took the city of Tal Afar, where before, people barricaded themselves in their houses to keep from being gunned down in the street, and turned it into a thriving community where families now feel safe and have hope for their children's future. God Bless our soldiers.