August 01, 2006

Iraqi native son returns to defend homeland he once fled

I love stories like this...

Iraqi soldier returns home, supports freedom

Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika
133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

TIKRIT — Home is where the heart is, and for one Iraqi military officer, his heart is with the Soldiers who are fighting for Iraq’s continued freedom.

Lt. Col Ayad Roston, commander, Military Intelligence Company, 4th Iraqi Army Division, was living in the United Kingdom, and waiting for the day he could return to Iraq to help his fellow countrymen continue the fight for freedom and democracy.

Lt. Col Ayad Roston.  Photo by Staff Sgt. Russell Lee Klika

When the opportunity finally presented itself, he returned to Iraq in 2003 to "give Coalition forces a hand." Ayad said he returned to his birthplace because he’s "here working for freedom."

Ayad is use to fighting for freedom. In the mid-1980s, he fought alongside the current Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, against Saddam’s forces. After receiving an injury on the battlefield that took him out of the fight, he fled to Turkey in 1988 and then later immigrated to England as a political refugee and became a British citizen. While in England, he continued his education and eventually earned a college degree. He supported himself by working odd jobs, but always looked forward to the day when he could return to his birthplace.

Today, he leads a military intelligence unit in the northern Salah Ah Din Province of Iraq, but is very flexible about his future plans.

"The division commander doesn’t want me to leave. He wants me to stay here," said Ayad. "We are military, so we don’t know. Today here, tomorrow different places."

Ayad has served in several northern Iraqi cities but the constant travel does not dampen his spirits. With each stop comes a new challenge, helping Coalition forces in each area to free the country of the insurgency.

"Everyday we learn something new from Coalition forces," said Ayad. "I have been working for the last two years with Special Forces, and I have learned a lot from them, because [they] know how to fight." [Darn right! --ed.]

A plan is in the works that will send Ayad to the U.S. Army Intelligence Center at Ft. Huachuca, Ariz. He believes the training he will receive there will help him to help Iraq. He also believes Coalition forces are owed a debt of thanks.

"Thanks to [Coalition forces]. You come thousands of miles away, away from your family. Absolutely, all of you guys are heroes."

Thank you, Lt. Col Roston. Your determination to defend the land you love from the forces of evil are nothing short of noble and commendable.

May God bless you in your fight for Iraq's freedom.

Posted by Kyer at August 1, 2006 12:19 PM | TrackBack