11-15-06 - When we think of veterans, we think of those who served in wars like Vietnam, WWII, etc. But a veteran has no certain age. At the age of 25, most are graduating college and entering into the workforce. But for Casey Phillips, he grew up in the marines. Casey began his tour of duty in Iraq in 2003 with the 3rd Battalion, 4th marines.
Casey says, "Yeah we were scared...but i think that's what got us through it. We were scared and kind of excited at the same time. Because we were in our little group of 12, I think the oldest one of us was 24 at the time."
Casey crossed over into Iraq from Kuwait in April of 2003.
On April 9th Casey's unit helped create one of the most memorable images of our war it Iraq.
"One of our other companies in our unit actually pulled down the Saddam statue so that was a boost for our morale” says Casey.
A boost that was needed not only for America, but for the Iraqi's as well.
"It was not like you see on TV. I know things might of changed a little bit, but it's like everything else you see. The 10% that's bad, you don't see the 90% that's good."
The good, like the hospitals and schools that American forces have helped build and women going to school for the first time. But for Casey it's the hospitality and the gratefulness of the Iraqi's he'll remember most. "It was really a site to see. All the little kids they'd run up to you and give you a thumbs up and say good push (because that was the only English they knew). They were really just happy to see us over there and it was a feeling that you don't get everyday. People telling us stories about what Saddam’s people had done to their families and how they don't sleep at night. It was really touching to make a difference in someone's life like that."
After all our soldiers went through to save our country, Casey say’s it’s hard to hear those who criticize the war.
"I know that people have their opinions. We’ve been fighting for people to feel the way they want to since the beginning of time. But once you start putting down the people that give you that right. I think there should be a line drawn.”
A line that if crossed, hurts those overseas, as well as those who gave so much over the years.
Casey works for the Bonham VA performing patient transports. He's going to EMT school and is happy to have served in the War in Iraq.