|In their own words: Letters from U.S. casualties
Writings from U.S. troops who have died in Iraq
09/08/04 "AP" -- Army Staff Sgt. Dale Panchot, 26, of Northome, Minn., in a letter to his family.
“I was reading my Bible the other night and in the book of Genesis ... it said when God created the heavens and earth, he made four rivers, two of which are here in Iraq, the Tigris and the Euphrates. So after I found that out, I had to go down by the river and touch the water. I tell you, it was something else. Pretty cool, huh?”
Army National Guard Sgt. Roger Rowe, 54, of Bon Aqua, Tenn., in his last letter to his wife, Shirley.
“Love has always gotten us through and it will do so again.”
Army Pfc. Rachel Bosveld, 19, of Waupun, Wis., in a letter home.
“More and more people want us to go home. Believe me, we want to go home.”
Army National Guard Sgt. Frank Carvill, 51, of Carlstadt, N.J., in an e-mail to a friend.
“We have been and continue to operate in dangerous and volatile areas with amazing restraint considering we are repeatedly engaged. ... We give candy to kids, purchase items in the local economy and return accurate and well aimed fire upon legitimate targets when fired upon. The United States is too deeply committed to this to quit now or at any time in the immediate future. We are simply stuck and must persevere. Ultimately, it will work, but it will take years. FYI, one of our heavy vehicles got stuck today in soft ground. The local Iraqis came by with a bulldozer and a front end loader and helped us. The Iraqi guy who organized the vehicle rescue refused to take money. We have not lost yet.”
Army Pfc. Diego Rincon, 19, of Conyers, Ga., in his last letter home.
“Whether I make it or not, it’s all part of the plan. It can’t be changed, only completed. Mother will be the last word I’ll say. Your face will be the last picture that goes through my eyes. ... I just hope that you’re proud of what I’m doing and have faith in my decisions. I will try hard and not give up. I just want to say sorry for anything I have ever done wrong. And I’m doing it all for you mom. I love you.”
Marine Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin, 21, of Sunray, Texas, in the last letter to his fiancee, Tiffany Frank.
“When the pastor says you may kiss your bride that will probably be the happiest moment next to the next time you are able to lay your head on my chest ... There is no one or nothing that will stop me from getting back to you baby. So don’t worry. Just wait.”
Army Sgt. Micheal Dooley, 23, of Pulaski, Va., in a letter home to his wife, Christine, who was six months’ pregnant when he died.
“I want pictures of you, to see how big your belly is getting. How much my baby is growing inside of you. Not being with you makes me weak. You are the link that makes my chain strong. You complete me in every way.”
The final journal entry of Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer Bruce Smith, 41, of West Liberty, Iowa. His wife, Oliva, received the necklace in the mail two days after his funeral, with a short note: “Oliva, Happy Birthday Early. Love Bruce.”
“I sent Oliva a b-day present yesterday. A nice necklace. She will get it a couple of weeks early but that is good.”
© 2004 The Associated Press
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