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Tony Dohse: Reporting from duty in Iraq

Tony Dohse, who graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Federal Way in 1992 and now is a C-23 pilot with the Army National Guard, has been serving in Iraq since January. His mother-in-law, Maureen Bernardy of Federal Way, says Dohse "and his buddies are committed to helping the Iraqi people and the new democracy taking root there." Dohse is chronicling his experiences by posting photographs of Iraq and written entries on his Web site at http://spaces.msn.com/members/tdohse/. An excerpt, edited for military security reasons, is reprinted here with permission of his wife, Bridget.

Saturday, June 25: Hello, everyone.

I have been in Iraq for six months now. Life here has been keeping me rather busy. The days are long, but they seem to be flying by.

Things have been going really well. I work with a great group of guys and that makes a huge difference. We all stick together like one big family. Our company has both full-time guardsmen and traditional (part-time) guardsmen. Half of us are pilots and half are flight engineers. The traditional guardsmen come from many different career fields, i.e., school teacher, lawyer, airline pilot, student and police officer.

Things here in Iraq are really quite different. I had a preconceived notion that Iraq would be nothing more than one big desert. My job as a C-23 pilot has allowed me to see the whole country in great detail and not just what the media wants me to see. The truth is, Iraq is quite diverse. This country has a little bit of everything.

The northern part of Iraq is known for its mountains, hills, oil and agriculture. The central part has some of the largest bodies of water. Some of the lakes are at least 30 to 40 miles long by 20 to 30 miles wide. The water is a deep blue and allows you to feel like you are in paradise for a moment. 

The southwestern part of Iraq is made up of huge swamps. The western side is nothing more than a huge desert. All of us expected the whole country to look like western Iraq.

The country is filled with history. I could go on and on about all the historical sites.

While I have been over here, my wonderful wife has moved us into our new home. She has been doing a great job holding everything together back home.

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