In February, the Monitor profiled William Perez, a 29-year-old Mount Hope resident who’s serving in Iraq. We spoke with him while he was on leave – the only one he'll get during a 15-month deployment – and he was pretty upbeat (considering he was about to leave his fiancé behind and head back to Baghdad).
Recently, however, Perez has had a difficult time. On April 28, his good friend Cpl. David McCormick, of Matagorda County, Texas, was killed by rocket fire.
Perez has been keeping a diary of sorts in regular emails home to his mom, Nitza Vera. Nitza wanted me to post some of these e-mails, "so the youth, and others, will know what it is really like right in the middle of a war. We take a lot for granted, and he doesn't even know if he will see the sun rise the next day. He feels at least he is sharing his deepest thoughts with his neighbors. No gang, or police brutality can compare to what he is going through right now without a warm hug in site, or a familiar face."
Here are the e-mails:
I thought today of all days we would have a day off because we were to have a memorial for my friend that passed away. Of course I was sadly mistaken because we
have such an enemy threat here that we work day in and day out- put ur feelings to the side and we will get to them when we see fit. Numbing, all is numbing-
After my mission of receiving small arms fire with in 100 meters from where i was resting my head in a humvee that had to be at least 110 degrees, I prepared for a memorial that I thought I was prepared for. The Chapel filled up slowly, every one spoke soft, the tone was meek and sorrow was felt throughout the room. A big picture of Corporal McCormick was to the right of the altar and a screen just to the left of it so the projector could show pictures through slides. In the middle of the altar were McCormick’s weapon, boots helmet and dogtags. I was ok until they started calling out random names of our PSD-(personal security detail for the SGT MAJOR) As the 1st Sergeant called names soldiers responded with 'Here 1st Sergeant' but when they got to Corporal McCormick there was no answer - 1st SGT called him 3 times and it echoed throughout the walls.. We waited as if he would say 'here 1st sgt but no 1 answered. That's when I broke, I started crying. I have not cried in such a long time that it felt new to me. I could not stop, I just kept thinking of him and how that could be any 1 of us up there. Just so you know, we all are aware that this job is not an easy 1 to swallow but we are at least on guard and awaiting an attack when we roll out the wire. McCormick died while he was asleep, while he slept a rocket shot by the enemy hit him. I don't even know if I am gonna wake up the next morning anymore so I make my prayers extra special for family and friends. We have been taking indirect fire for some time over here and it has gotten real close that our rooms shake and we wake up because of the blast but no 1 was ever a casualty, now it hit home. It is a reality...I wish 2 come home 2 u to have a normal life again...
Today was a weird day, I woke up feeling lost, where have I been for these past 6months. I have so many mixed feelings, was my situation so bad that I really needed to join? This separation has taken a toll on my sanity, not able to hold and feel my loved ones. My son, my family and definitely my wife with child on the way. I need to leave this place, it only reminds me of death. It only serves the lies this nation has fed us. My friend died because of this 'lie' or maybe it was for 'gas' and 'oil' His life and so many others mean more than that, to say terror was the cause, we never found the weapons of mass destruction, maybe Osama has them where ever he is. I am so tired of this place that it takes me down. My emotional status is on a slide going downward. I need my sanity- I need my wife-son-family.. things that make life worth living, I do not need to be here with strangers that only know ranks and treat you like the paygrade you recieve. I really don't care anymore, I argue with these SGT's without regard to who they are.. little by little they get more of me with out the military bearing- what a famous quote---- ' A mind is a terrible thing to waste' they should replace waste with 'lose'
This is my friend (pictured), I worked with him for a yr. I saw him day in and out, did endless missions and joked with him. He was stop loss which means if his contract is over 3 months before we deploy again or after 3 months from us deploying he will have to stay another tour in iraq, which is exactly what happened. If it was not for that he would be with his family right now. He is a good man and an even better soldier, pray for his family- this could be ur brother or father or loved one.. honor his death by praying for his family. He is the reason we can buy gas and oil or whatever reason we are here.. i at least know its not 4 mass destruction....