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Sept. 11 – Two years later

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On the front lines - Iraq
JOEY DAUBEN
The Ellis County Press

TIKRIT, Iraq - It's been two years since terrorists hijacked airplanes and turned the country - as well as the world - upside down.

The War on Terror has also been fought for almost two years in two countries, Afghanistan and Iraq, with soldiers being confronted with daily bomb attacks and combat stress.

'I get headaches a lot and I get real bad nightmares,' said Midlothian High School graduate Jim Bob Cooper, enlisted on the front lines of the 4th Infantry Division 1-22 Battalion, in Tikrit, Iraq.

'A lot of guys have those symptoms.'

Cooper, one of a dozen MHS grads over in Iraq, said there are attacks daily as they try to hunt for terrorists and enforce curfews.

'Everyday we get hit by guerilla s—,' he said. 'I guard a convoy of humvees [and] we're coming in and an Iraqi fired a [Rocket-Propelled Grenade] at it, messed up the vehicle and the guy in the passenger seat…[his] leg was hamburger meat.

'In Tikrit, we do a lot of raids on suspected terrorists and we also patrol the city after curfew hours. We send out a lot of reconnaissance teams at night to try and ambush any guerrillas. They [guerrilas] don't attack in the day, only at night.'

And the food is good.

'Yeah, food is real good and we get plenty of water,' he said. 'I'm on some much-needed [rest and relaxation] right now. I went [swimming] in one of Saddam's private pools, me and some of my buddies found it while searching one of his bombed-out places.'

April is when Cooper's unit is expected to be returning home, he said.


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