Heat is the norm for soldiers serving in Iraq
by Alan Reed
Aug 22, 2007 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CSM Dan McCraw poses on the streets of Iraq with three unidentified colleagues.  McCraw reports high morale among his battalion and a drop from 157 IED attacks in February to 5 in July.
CSM Dan McCraw poses on the streets of Iraq with three unidentified colleagues. McCraw reports high morale among his battalion and a drop from 157 IED attacks in February to 5 in July.
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For residents of Western Kentucky, hundred-degree highs come as an unwelcome shock. For soldiers such as Command Sergeant Major Dan McCraw, on deployment in Ramadi, Iraq, searing temperatures are a way of life. Thanks to a satellite phone call provided by Digital Video and Imagery Distribution Systems, McCraw took a moment from his busy day to tell his hometown newspaper The Cadiz Record about his life in Iraq and the ongoing war effort.

“It was 115 degrees in Ramadi today. Being a native of Cadiz and a graduate of Trigg County High, I can say I would like to pick up the air here, and take it there,” said McCraw. “It’s because of the humidity. We sweat but don’t get sweaty. At times, it gets up to 139 degrees, but if you spend much time here, you get used to it.”

McCraw is embarked on his third tour to the Iraqi theater of operations and serves with the First Brigade of the Third Infantry Brigade Troops Battalion. When on duty in the United States, McCraw is stationed in Ft. Stewart, Georgia.

“The duties for the Command Sergeant Major for a battalion of over 650 soldiers are supporting the morale and livelihood of the men. I am the battalion commander’s right hand man in that I try to keep the soldiers motivated to do the jobs they are assigned and try to keep a smile on their faces,” said McCraw. He said that he has overseen the building of gymnasiums, basketball courts, ping-pong tables, and brought slushy machines and popcorn poppers to the troops of the theater.

With much made about the deadline for the report on increased troop levels and activities known as “the surge,” McCraw said that Coalition troops have made progress in subduing the insurgency. “From my position, I support the military and civilian leaders of the United States. We hear a lot on the news about the negative things happening in the war, and I wish I could show you the good we do.”

McCraw discussed the difference between his first and second tours in Iraq from his current assignment. “The first deployment was ugly, and the second one was just as bad. I miss home and my family, but there is no other place I would rather be. We see a difference now. We had 157 (Improvised Explosive Device) attacks in our area of operations in February. In July, we brought it down to five.”

For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.
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