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Iraq Vets in Mississippi Recall War

By Daniel Cherry | Published 19 Mar 2013 04:53pm | comments
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.  Thousands of Mississippians served in the conflict and dozens of them gave their lives.
 
Ten years ago, Dave Minsky who now lives in Magee stood on the deck of the USS Briscoe as the crew was preparing to begin "Shock and Awe". Minsky says, just before they began firing Tomahawk missiles into Iraq, the Captain addressed the sailors. 
 
"'Now when we launch these missiles we don't want to hear anybody cheering because these missiles are probably going to kill people and death is not a thing to cheer about.' While in theory that's correct, when the missiles went off everybody was cheering. Which is very morbid in a lot of ways, but I guess that's just how it goes in war."
 
On the ground in Iraq, Major General Augustus Collins commanded 42 hundred men and women in some of the toughest fighting of the war. Collins is now the Adjutant General of Mississippi, and he lost 27 men under his command, 14 of those were Mississippians. In the past decade there has been an abundance of debate over the war was the right decision. Major General Collins says for him, it was all about the mission.
 
"We fight where we're told. It didn't matter to us. The mission had been given to us, it was our job to carry out that mission and that's what we did. All of the doubting and the speculation, we'll leave that to the politicians."
 
The war in Iraq officially came to an end in December 2011. Even though the war isn't grabbing headlines as it once did, Major General Collins thinks officials are keeping a close eye on the country as the fragile democracy continues to grow.
 
"So there will be interest in Iraq for years to come. For the general population, perhaps it's forgotten, but for the senior officials in this country, no it's not forgotten."
 
In all more than 50 Mississippians died while serving in Iraq.

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