Second brother eager to go
The war in Iraq has hit many local residents. Few are so familiar as Shelly Anderson of Alta. She will soon have two sons serving in that volatile nation.
Eighteen year old Lance has been in Iraq since February serving with the 443rd Transportation Company.
"Lance was enrolled at Iowa Central Community College when he got the call and within a week he quit school and cleaned out his dorm," says Shelly. "He went in to be a cook, he ended up as a gunner."
Twenty-year-old Lee has since been put on alert and is preparing him self for a year-long tour. "Alert means you are on the list, high alert means that we are going real soon! Whenever they call I gotta go," Lee said. "I'll jam my stuff into a bag and go."
With a bit of a quiver in her voice Shelly admits, "I am ready, it is hard to accept to have both over at the same time. First you're crying for pride. Then you cry because you're scared. Then you cry because you feel sorry for yourself."
Lee was quick to respond to his mother's anguish, "It's not as bad as they say it is."
Lance has seen quite a bit of the country and has been able to send back disposable cameras filled with photos of tanks, both US and overturned and burned Iraqi machines. Pictures of himself and his surroundings. He has also been able to videotape his ventures. In one tape he was able to capture sheep herders strolling down the highways, vehicles going down the roadways the wrong way. Even a car wash that was taking place in the outside lane of a busy road. Lance narrates, "There are no rules."
Also captured on tape were small children. Some waving with excitement and joy to view the soldiers. And some apparent by their gestures perhaps not filled with such joy.
Shelly was amazed that her son was able to videotape and keep his finger on the trigger of a M16 at the same time. Communication between the family and their soldier has been quite good. Lance has been able to e-mail and phone numerous times. But the family was informed that the base in which Lance is stationed has since had some of their laptops transferred out. Communication will be lessened.
Recently he returned to his base which consists of an old Iraqi officer's quarters. He had been on a two week convoy to Najaf. Lance reported back to his mother that he hadn't showered during his lengthy mission. "He said that he smelled bad, and had to stand in line for hours for a shower. The temp was 140 degrees."
Lee is filled with excitement and anticipation for his upcoming tour. He will first spend a month at Ft. Riley for training, then off to Kuwait City.
"I think it will be fun," remarks the young man. Although he continued, "The sooner I get there the sooner I'll get home."
Recently Shelly was treated by her fellow employees at Sports Rehab with a small support gathering. "They gave me balloons, t-shirts and caps for both boys and a card with money for care packages. People have been good with prayer and support."
Lance has received quite a few care packages from his mother. Included in these love filled gifts are candy, beef jerky, toilet paper, toothpaste, eye drops, soap, batteries and even sardines.
Shelly also sends area news clippings. "Anything from home. Just a piece of home," she says with a sigh. She continued "We protect them, now they are protecting us."
Shelly also relayed to her sons a message felt by many, "You are heroes to us back here."
The Andersons welcome others wishing to send Lance cards or letters of support to do so at: SPC Lance Anderson 9168, 443rd Transportation Co., FOB Speicher, APO, AE 09393