CAPE MAY — The students in Michael Beck’s eighth grade class spent time Oct. 2 with the couple the class adopted as friends: Sean and Brandi Glynn, a husband and wife that served in the U.S. Army for one year in Iraq.
The students purchased and sent gifts of cookies, fudge, teddy bears and other items to the Glynns. They wrote letters to the couple and most importantly, prayed for their safe return.
The couple visited Our Lady Star of the Sea School and answered questions from the students. Sean Glynn hails from Villas.
He said the couple would be stationed at Fort Lewis in the State of Washington where they hope to buy a home. They are expecting a child in March.
Sean and Brandi, both 25 years old, met eight months before they were deployed and they married two weeks before being sent to Iraq. They were stationed in Cape Echo, Diwanea, Iraq for seven months and in Basra for five months.
Sean served as a medic, went on convoys and worked in a hospital. Brandi worked in Battalion Supply and as an LNO escorting nationals on base to keep them out of secured areas.
“Every time we had mail call, we had something waiting for us,” said Sean.
He said they enjoyed reading cards from the students and sharing “goodies” with other troops.
They brought a box of items back from Iraq for the students including a tin of candy, an American Flag flown over Iraq, Iraqi money, a ski hat worn by locals reading “I Love Iraq,” and clothing worn by Iraqis. Beck noted Saddam Hussein’s photo was on the paper money.
Brandi said Iraqi children play soccer. She showed the students a photo of child given to her by an Iraqi father who said he wanted the American children to see Iraqi children were just like them.
“The Iranians don’t like the fact Iraq is getting better, so they want to mess it up,” said Sean.
A student asked if the Glynns had any free time while in Iraq. Sean said they had a few hours per day to walk to the PX to buy magazine or buy a movie from local residents for $1.
He said the temperature in Iraq in summer was 120 to 130 degrees during the day and down to 90 at night. Sean said there were few trees other than along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Brandi said Iraqis spoke Arabic but those working on base spoke English since the British had been there for five years.
Sean told the children about large Camel Spiders that follow people, seeking to stand in the shadow of a person for shade. He said the soil in Iraq was not sand but fine dust.
Occasionally mortars and rockets would come into the base, said Sean. He said the only loss they had was a Chevy Trailblazer that took a rocket in its grill and dumpster hit that shot trash for 100 meters.
Beck asked if there would be a democracy for many years to come in Iraq or were things quieting down until U.S. troops leave with the possibility of sectarian violence increasing.
Sean said Iraqis were tired of violence. He said many of those who cause violence come from outside of Iraq from Syria, Jordan and Iran.
A group called Sons of Iraq, a local militia, man checkpoints and are friendly to Americans, said Sean.
“It’s really tough if you are in a gunfight, you don’t know who is shooting who any more because you assume if they don’t look like you, they are the enemy but then you see another guy shooting at his own people because he doesn’t like that guy because he is trying to start trouble in his neighborhood,” said Sean.
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