ITALIAN SOLDIERS, SILENT SENTRIES OF IRAQI PEOPLE

By LTC Mario Luppa, Italian Army

“The Boeing 207 was ready to take off at 02.50 B Time, 220 blood brothers and I; destination the Airport of KUWAIT City. From there, one C-130 of the Italian Air Force was going to board and transport the first part of us to Tallil Air Force Base. And that is how the Operation Babilonia 7 started for me, one of the paras of my second family, the “Folgore” Brigade. While the singer Elisa was sounding “Heaven” in my ears, I was staring at the sky of Rome in that clear night... and said goodbye to the eternal town. As soon as in the aircraft I mentally double-checked my equipment, my best resource, what I had been given to survive and to accomplish my mission at his best. After that, I closed my eyes and slept. A long trip over grounds without trees, only some strips of water… and seas of sand. I reached Nassyria the day after at dusk, and incredible to say, once in a life time even the feathered soldiers, Italian Bersaglieri, always in competition with us, paras, where happy to see us… we were proud Italians,

we were all brothers, we were in the same mission now. We, paratroopers, will keep training the Iraqi Security Forces as they have done, and that is fundamental. ISF, the forces that will ensure peace, peace of mind and security to the local people even when we will be gone; Iraqi women, children and men, people who have suffered too much. Our predecessors have already made plenty of good works: hospitals have been restored and made efficient, they have repaired pipe line for oil and water, schools have been re-opened and equipped with personal computers and good equipment. And for doing so, even at present time they need us, Italian soldiers, deployed on the sunny ground of IRAQ, sentries for them. Security is the issue, security that will deny the insurgents ground for taking out the hope from these children eyes’. U.S., British, Romanian, Danish… United we stand… We trust, we work; we are going to do it and to do it well.”

Those words come from a letter one Italian soldier addressed to his mother in Italy, and his mother e-mailed it to her best friend, a journalist of a National newspaper. A voice, therefore, that comes from real life, the world of flesh and blood in dry and dusty Al Nassyria, where the ITA J TF is based. He is one of the soldiers of the “Brigata Paracadutisti Folgore” which has replaced the “Brigata Bersaglieri Garibaldi” since the 21st of April and that will stay until the end of Summer 2005. It is additional evidence that solidarity and good is what is behind coalition soldiers’ armor, soldiers that are convinced to defend the best values that they have grown up with.

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My thanks to those that serve. They are proud, brave people.
Thanks guys and gals!