Hawaii Soldiers Give Personal Take on Iraq War

Sergeant 1st Class Dick Matsumoto
Sergeant 1st Class Dick Matsumoto
1st Sergeant Joe Burnett
1st Sergeant Joe Burnett

SCHOFIELD (KHNL) - After a year in Iraq, nearly 120 soldiers based at Fort Shafter are back home bringing with them stories of the war in Iraq.

The Army Reserves 657th Area Support Group not only returned to loved ones, they also came back with an inside look at the battle waging in the Middle East.

The unit received a warm aloha at Schofield during an awards ceremony Sunday afternoon.

"We're just happy that we're back together again," says Army wife Samantha Burnett.

Soldiers say their time in Iraq has opened their eyes to aspects of the war most don't see.

"I think it's better, the relationships that we get with them the Iraqi people that work on the base. It's good," says Sgt. 1st Class Abel Huihui.

"I think that's the hard part people don't see. People see the everyday bombing exploding but I think the little things will help the Iraqi people in general. The schools, helping the community," says 1st Sgt. Joe Burnett.

Soldiers would not say if the politically controversial troop surge is working.

"I'm not sure if I'm able to comment on that," says Burnett.

But they do say there is progress.

"We're moving towards positive things and what the general public needs to know is, it's not going to be an overnight thing," says Burnett.

"We're slowly accomplishing as much as we can everyday to prove to these people of the Iraq and the mideast countries that democracy is a more better life than what they have been living," says Sgt. 1st Class Dick Matsumoto.

The 657th Area Support Group was responsible for running Anaconda - one of the largest bases in Iraq's green zone.