Local soldier serving in Iraq

SPC Jared Ervine, is the son of Pastor David and Karen Ervine of Tipton.
Jared left in the early fall for a one year tour of duty in Iraq. He is a 2002 graduate of Bellwood-Antis. Before his family moved to Tipton, at the completion of his junior year of high school in Akron, NY, he did his “Basic Training” at Ft. Jackson, SC. After graduation from B-A, he went on to finish his “Advanced Training” at Ft. Benning, GA where he was selected to join a very elite infantry group, the 327th HHC Company of the 101st at Ft Campbell, KY. Once there he went on to complete some further specialized training: earning his Air Assault “jump wings”, his EIB (Expert Infantry Badge), medical training and two Outstanding Achievement Badges.
He is over there serving his country proudly, helping to keep them safe and free from terrorist attacks as well as us. His company has taken the fight to them. He is also helping to keep the terrorists off our shores. He, as well as all our other young men and women have seen many things that no person should have to see, or experience, at their age or even at any age; this is one of the greatest tragedies of war. They are the true heroes; many will never get a medal for their service, the only thanks they might receive would be from a smile from a young Iraqi child, or from us!
They will on the other hand come away with the proud feeling, in their heart, that they made a difference with their lives, helping others in their fight for liberty and freedom. They have done this in another part of the world so far away from home; and yes, heroically some have given the greatest gift of all… their own life.
Many of these soldiers will begin their day between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. They come in their mess hall tent, get their breakfast and then head out to their different duties, patrolling the streets, rebuilding, training Iraqi soldiers or guarding important locations and sometimes even specialized combat missions. The only break they might get during the day is for meal time. Their day doesn’t end for them until late that evening around 7 p.m. or later. The highlight of their day is mail call or when they have a chance to get online and I.M. or call home. Iraq is very hot this time of year, reaching temperatures of 125 or more. These soldiers don’t have many choices in their lives, what food they get to eat, when they get up or go to bed, or what they are called upon to do. Nor can they always express what they like or dislike, that is the military way.
FOB McHenry is where Jared is stationed; it is a training center to a large number of Iraqi Army troops. He and others in his company are taking these troops through specialized training. This base is responsible for training many of the Iraqis who are now taking over the fight for their own country. Sad to say, we here in the states, too many times through the media only see all the bad things that are going on over there in Iraq, and there is.
Jared’s opinion is that “the media’s whole intent is to show the Americans that we are losing this war and not improving in it or the country at all. We have the insurgents on the run and have chased them back to their base of operations. They are in a defense mode against us and in an attack mode against the Iraqi people.”
We have forgotten that in our own history were many struggles for democracy. What you don’t hear about is all the good that is being done over there: the schools that are being opened, college classes again being started, newspapers and magazines being circulated; more people having electricity and running water in their homes than ever before, and most importantly people getting out to vote for their OWN government, just to mention a few things. Freedom isn’t free, it costs money, and it costs lives! Thank God we are willing to give of our best for this struggle.
Democracy takes time to get established, for a government to develop it, and for a military to be trained to maintain it. Our son, Jared, has a part in all of this, and we as his parents are very proud of him. Not only is he helping to weed out the insurgents who are trying to disrupt the democratic process, even though this is what the majority of Iraqi’s themselves want, he is also helping to train the soldiers to stand up proudly for their newly-found rights, instilling in them a sense of pride that they did not have under the old regime. He has likened his mission to that of what we did in Germany, as church planters; training the people to what church is all about, how to run one and then leave it in their own hands. He says “this is not church planting but government planting”.
This comes at a cost to him as well; he has left his new wife of one year at home, and his family behind. Being separated from your family for such a long time is not easy; it’s hard and very lonely work. Please remember him and all our other military personnel in your thoughts and prayers, and if you care to, consider writing him or someone else serving over there a short note of thanks.
You may not agree with the war or what is going on over there, and that is your right; but remember, that right costs the lives of many of our military personnel. That is one reason why we celebrate “Memorial Day”!
Submitted by Pastor David Ervine.