Soldiers from the war in Iraq are returning and telling their stories, and two of them have returned to their native Forest Grove in recent days.
Dave Farrin, a lance corporal in the Marines, and James Gibson, a staff sergeant in the Army, have returned much the same young men as when they left, for which their families are tremendously thankful. They have come through the fires of war with their physical health and spirits intact.
They share other important similarities. Both men believe the war has received unfair coverage in the American press. This disappoints them more than it angers them because they believe that the good things accomplished by the USA far outweigh the bad.
As far as the soldiers are concerned, they say the war has overwhelming support.
As for experiencing war for the first time, Farrin said, "I was not nervous. We had a lot of training before we left." And anyway, "a lot of stuff doesn't bother me."
What did bother him was the picture of the war given to the American public.
"The people in Iraq love us," Farrin said. "The people doing the fighting are from outside Iraq. Syria, Turkey, places like that.
"When we would go outside the gate, all the people would come running up to us and say, 'Mister! Mister! Take my picture!' They gave us peace signs and thumbs up. They tried to give us food."
While "news travels real slow" in Iraq, Farrin did not like what he heard.
"They don’t see all the good stuff," he said. "They just cover the fighting. It was kind of weird. It seemed like they were trying to screw up the military."
Gibson's greatest moment was Jan. 30 – election day in Iraq.
"Watching thousands upon thousands of people coming to vote made it all worthwhile," he said. "Seeing all those people lined up to vote was amazing."
It was this day and other days of progress in Iraq that cause Gibson to take issue with coverage of the war.
"I don’t think people back home are getting the full picture," Gibson said. "There has been a lot of focusing on negatives. We could do 500 missions with the Iraqi army and 499 of them could be successful, and the only thing covered would be the one that went bad.
"People don't see the new schools opening, the two or three toy and supply drops every month, people getting clean water. This has been a very successful mission. One that 99 percent of the soldiers are supporting. It is being spun like everyone doesn't want to be there."
"Our unit alone spent millions to build schools, irrigation facilities, city council halls, roads, and rebuilding the Iraqi army so they can take over the war. In over a year I didn't expect them to make half the progress they did. It's amazing how these guys came in and went about building a better Iraq."
October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 May 2013 July 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 May 2015