Oklahoma Soldiers And Their Families Weigh In On The Debate About The War In Iraq

Thursday, December 7th 2006, 9:53 am
By: News On 6

While politicians discuss possible policy changes in Iraq, thousands of men and women in uniform and their families watch and wait.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims says the Tate family and friends gathered at Tulsa International Airport anxiously awaiting a special arrival. Genie Tate: “besides myself I'm ready for em." Genie's oldest son, Matt, has been serving in Iraq for almost a year. Last Christmas, the army specialist was heading into Baghdad. This year, he'll be back in the arms of his family.

US Army specialist Matt Tate: "a whole lot better than last year. Its hard to put into words, how glad I am to be home." At a time like this the Tate's aren't too concerned with politics, but they are keeping an eye on recent headlines."

In particular the Iraqi Study Report's recommendation to pull combat troops out of Iraq by early 2008. Genie Tate: "I think that would be great, not have to be over there." US Marine Sgt Mark Dean: "it was getting worse and worse every tour that I went over there.”

In nearly four years with the Marine Corps, Sergeant Mark Dean served three tours of duty in Iraq. He patrolled the Syrian border and helped train Iraqis. And he agrees with the Iraq Study Group's suggestion that training more Iraqi troops is the key to success.

"They're getting the hang of it. They're doing it very well. I was very surprised after seeing how they operated in second deployment compared to the third. They've come a long way."

Dean says from what he's seen it's just going to take time. Only time will tell whether this soldier will have to return to Iraq, but he says he's ready for whatever comes. Matt Tate: "always an option, just learn to keep things open and whenever they tell us to go, we go."

Specialist Matt Tate will head back to Fort Hood, Texas in January. Sergeant Mark Dean is no longer on active duty. But he says the military chapter of his life is far from over. He plans to finish his college degree, and then go back to the service and possibly on to flight school.