From Cpl. Phillip Turner in Iraq
My name is Cpl Phillip Turner and I am with the 5th Civil Affairs Group stationed in Camp Fallujah, Iraq. I am friends with SSgt Dennis Bradford from the 4th Combat Engineer Battalion out of Baltimore, MD. I received a few letters from some of your students and I would like to reply back to them to the best of my ability!
Dear Alexis, Danielle, Lauren F., Lauren L., and Samantha,
Thank you all for writing me a letter, they made my day! I am 26 years old and I am from Lusby, MD. I am married to my wife Karen and I have a five year old son (Jordan), and a three year old daughter (Kayla). My wife and I are expecting another baby boy on the 25th of September. I hope I'm able to make it home in time for him to be born!
I'll tell you a little about Iraq: It is very hot here and will be even hotter in a month or two! It was 126 degrees here the other day! We have to wear our desert cammies over here and we're not allowed to roll our sleeves up! It can be very uncomfortable at times with sweating and having the sand and dust stick to your face and hands.
The city water here is not good for us to drink because of the germs that are in it! We have to drink bottled water.
Alexis asked, "What kind of food do you eat?" Some of the Iraqi food is good to eat like lamb, chicken, and bread. We can't eat the vegetables because we'll get sick. Most of the time I eat MRE's (meals ready to eat). They're not any better tasting, but they are safe to eat.
Danielle asked, "What do you do when you're bored?" Like her, I play my gameboy! Usually at night time before I go to bed. Other times, I watch a movies that one of my friends have on their computer.
Lauren F. asked, "Do you like doing your job?" Yes, I do! I like helping people out when times are rough! Our main goal here is to gain the trust of the Iraqi people, so we can help them re-establish a new government and just get back on their feet again. Just to see the look on the little kids faces when we help them or just give them a piece of candy is worth it for me!
Lauren L. asked, "Do you have a certain time that you can rest?" Yes! Once it gets dark, there's not too much that we can do. We try to get off of work as quick as we can, so we can relax for the night, but sometimes we work really late.
Samantha asked, "How hard is it to work there?" It is very hard to work here, everything is different! The weather is a lot hotter, the people don't always treat us nice, we work really long hours, the food isn't that good, and it's hard to sleep! But that is normal for people when they are away from home! I will say, things could be a lot worse! I am grateful that I can wake up every morning and be able to have friends like you all to send me letters! I want to thank you and I will never forget you! If you get a chance, please write back! I have to go for now and it was nice to hear from you all!
Ms. Lewis, Thank you for letting your students send me and the other marines letters! It's nice to know that we have people thinking about us all the time! Carrie, It's you, that makes our lives better! I'm sure that you are a great teacher and a wonderful person! Thank You!
(Attached is a picture of me and some pictures of a school here and some kids that go to that school).
Cpl Phillip W. Turner