|Iowa soldier gains fame for sending
positive Iraq e-mail
USA Today 5/15/04
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa soldier is gaining notoriety as the author of an e-mail now circulating the world noting positive developments in Iraq.
Sgt. First Class Ray Reynolds said he wrote the message to counter what he considers overly negative media coverage focused on soldiers killed and politicians who have criticized the war effort.
"We need to start focusing on the good because that's what's going to inspire the people of Iraq and the troops, that America is behind this project," Reynolds, 37, of Denison, told The Gazette. "We need to think of it in terms of rebuilding the country of Iraq rather than the day-to-day ups and downs of the project."
His e-mail, based on statistics he compiled, notes accomplishments ranging from power and phone service being restored to cleaner drinking water and the interim constitution being signed.
He wrote the e-mail to 13 friends and relatives and asked his acquaintances to pass it on. Now, the e-mail is traveling around the world.
Reynolds, in his letter, says the media has "done a very poor job of covering everything that has happened."
Reynolds, of the Iowa Army National Guard 234th Signal Battalion, worked in the communications division in Baghdad.
Lt. Col. Greg Hapgood, a spokesman for the Iowa Guard, said he stopped counting the constant queries he's receiving about the e-mail. He thinks the message is so popular because people are thirsty for good news to give them hope.
But he said Reynolds bordered on breaking a rule by "expressing political views in uniform."
Reynolds said in the e-mail, signed with his name, military title and unit, "We are doing a good job in Iraq, and I challenge anyone, anywhere to dispute me on these facts. So if you happen to run into John Kerry, be sure to give him my e-mail address and send him to Denison, Iowa. This soldier will set him straight."
Hapgood said Reynolds "has not been formally disciplined" but stressed the importance of soldiers staying away out of politics.
"For those of us in uniform, it's important that we remain apolitical, that we're absolutely neutral," he said. "We work for the American people, and we have to put our politics aside."
|Subject: a Texas Soldier's Letter to Kerry]
This is very informative
Dear Senator Kerry:
Since it has become clear that you will probably be the Democratic nominee
for President, I have spent a great deal of time researching your war
record and your record as a professional politician. The reason is simple,
you aspire to be the Commander in Chief who would lead my sons and their
fellow soldiers in time of war. I simply wanted to know if you possess the
necessary qualifications to be trusted in that respect.
You see, I belong to a family of proud U.S. veterans. I was a Captain in
the Army Reserve, my father was a decorated Lieutenant in World War II; and
I have four sons who have either served, or are currently serving in the
military. The oldest is an Army Lieutenant still on active duty in
Afghanistan after already being honored for his service in Iraq. The
youngest is an E-4 with the military police. His National Guard unit just
finished their second tour of active duty, including six months in
Guantanamo Bay. My two other sons have served in the national guard and the
In looking at your record I found myself comparing it not only to that of
my father and my sons, but to the people they served with. My father
served with the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion in Europe. They landed on
Utah Beach and fought for 317 straight days including the Cherbourg
Peninsula, Aachen, the Hurtgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge. You
earned a Silver Star in Vietnam for chasing down and finishing off a
wounded and retreating enemy soldier. My father won a Bronze Star for
single handedly charging and knocking out a German machine gun nest that
had his men pinned down. You received three purple hearts for what appears
to be three minor scratches. In fact you only missed a combined total of
two days of duty for these wounds. The men of my father's unit, the 87th,
had to be admonished by their commanding officer because: "It has been
brought to our attention that some men are covering up wounds and refusing
medical attention for fear of being evacuated and permanently separated
from this organization..." It was also a common problem for seriously
wounded soldiers to go AWOL from hospitals in order to rejoin their units.
You used your three purple hearts to leave Vietnam early.
My oldest boy came home from Iraq with numerous commendations and then
proceeded to volunteer to go to Afghanistan and from there back to Iraq
again. My sons and father have never had anything but the highest regard
and respect for their fellow soldiers. Yet, you came home to publicly
charge your fellow fighting men with being war criminals and to urge their
defeat by the enemy. You even wrote a book that had a cover which mocked
the heroism of the U.S. Marines who raised the flag on Iwo Jima. Our
current crop of soldiers has a philosophy that no one gets left behind; and
they have practiced that from Somalia to the battlefields of the Middle
East. Yet as chairman of a Senate committee looking into allegations that
many of your fellow servicemen had been left behind as prisoners in
Vietnam, you chose to defend the brutal Vietnamese regime. You even went so
far as to refer to the families of the POWs and MIAs as Professional
malcontents, conspiracy mongers, con artists, and dime-store Rambos.
As a Senator you voted against the 1991 Gulf War, and have repeatedly voted
against funds to supply our troops with the best equipment, and against
money to improve our intelligence capability. I find this particularly
ironic since as a Presidential candidate you are highly critical of our
pre-war intelligence in Iraq. However, you did vote to authorize the
President to go to war, but have since proceeded to do everything you can
to undermine the efforts of our government and our troops to win. Is this
what our fighting men and women can expect of you if you are their
Commander in Chief? Will you gladly send them to war, only to then aid the
enemy by undermining the morale of our troops and cutting off the weapons
they need to win?
Our country is at war Senator, and as has been the case in every war since
the American Revolution, a member of my family is serving their country
during the war. Now you want me to trust you to lead my sons in this fight.
Sorry Senator, but when I compare your record to those who have fought and
died for this nation, and are currently fighting and dying, the answer is
not just no, but Hell No!
Michael Connelly February 14, 2004 Dallas, Texas
Forward this to EVERYONE you know--we can NOT afford to have this man
as the President of the United States!!