BAMBERG, Germany — Less than a full day into the war on Iraq, the sentiments of Americans on military bases in Europe were as diverse as pre-war opinions among U.N. members.

Most seem to support the early morning military strikes. Others either felt the war was a mistake or had mixed feelings about it. Still others were looking ahead to what will happen after the war.

Navy Capt. John Orem, the U.S. commander of American forces at Naval Station Rota, Spain, said that although people knew war was imminent, when it started the feeling on base was palpable.

“Even though everyone knew it was coming,” Orem said, “you could tell by the looks on people’s faces that their psyche had clearly been altered, and it is up to those of us who are managing military installations to take this change in sight, and into account with everything we do.”

Orem, a former P-3 pilot, said he felt the same way in 1991, when the U.S. attacked Iraq as part of Operation Desert Storm.

At the time, most of his squadron was in the Persian Gulf region and Orem was preparing to join them.

“The feeling was identical in terms of this is it, this is for real, but we’re professionals and we’re trained to do this, so let’s get our job done and re-establish the new status quo, whatever that is.”

Petty Officer 1st Class Joseph Ramos, a utilitiesman stationed in Rota, said watching the first moments of the attack made him think about his shipmates in the Middle East.

“Just supporting my shipmates out there,” he said. “I know plenty of people [there], Seabees from different battalions who are on their way and are already there.

“If I had my choice, I would be there with my shipmates.”

In Darmstadt, Germany, Sgt. Sam Smith of the 127th Military Police Company fully supported the military strikes on Iraq.

“President Bush did everything he could with the U.N. …,” Smith said. “[He] laid out the plan, but the U.N. failed him, and Iraq has been failing ever since 1991.

“Now President Bush is doing what he said he would do. Now, the sooner it’s over, the sooner [the troops] can come home. Hopefully it comes out for the best, not only for us, but for the people of Iraq as well.”

Others in Darmstadt were stunned by how soon the strikes began, and still wondered if it was the right decision.

“It was surprising [that the strikes occurred so soon after the deadline], even though I knew it was going to happen,” said Michael Gaines, supervisor of the Patriot Inn Guesthouse. “I’m not for war, but I’m not against it, either. I just hope [everyone] comes home safely.”

“I honestly think it could have been resolved in other ways,” said Pfc. Bruce Sinclair of the 32nd Signal Battalion in Darmstadt. “People are just too stubborn in the world.”

In Bamberg, Germany, members of the 54th Engineer Battalion rear detachment showed complete support for the war.

“I feel President Bush did the right thing,” said Pfc. Demetrius Hall, a combat engineer from 54th Engineer Battalion. Most of the soldiers in the battalion are deployed to the Gulf region. “I don’t think [Iraq] was taking the warnings seriously.”

Pfc. Josh Williams, also from 54th Engineer Battalion, agreed that now was the time for the United States to strike. Until recently, Williams was deployed to the Gulf, but was sent back for medical reasons.

“I feel like I’m missing out, not being part of that team anymore,” Williams said.

Hall and Williams now help the rear detachment with support missions and family member assistance.

“This job [with the rear detachment] is important, but I’d rather be over there,” Williams said.

“It’s an envy thing,” agreed 1st Lt. Corey Genevicz, rear detachment commander for 54th Engineer Battalion. “My role here is needed, to support our families, but I’m jealous of the guys who are over there on the front lines.”

The battalion’s Family Readiness Group is designed to provide support to families. Thursday was a busy day for Lonnie Leatherbery, who heads the group for the battalion’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

“I got a lot of calls from spouses asking which unit their husbands were attached to [in the region],” Leatherbery said. “They’re following the war on CNN, and they want to know if their husbands are on the front lines.”

At H.D. Smith Barracks in Baumholder, Germany, what comes after the war was on the minds of Pfc. John Hilsendager, 19, and Cpl. Dustin Rogers, 23, both of the 1st Armored Division’s 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery, Division Artillery.

With the 1st AD’s deployment rumored for months, Hilsendager said he was “a little bit” irked that he and other 1st AD soldiers are watching the war on TV, and not fighting, he said. “But I feel like by the time we get down there, [we’ll] still have a mission.”

That mission will most likely be peacekeeping, “and that peacekeeping mission is going to be dangerous too, with all the people down there … the terrorists groups.”

In combat, soldiers are prepared and focused, Hilsendager said. But in peacekeeping, soldiers may not be ready for “that little guy on the rooftop.”

Both soldiers agreed that peacekeeping may end up being as dangerous, if not more risky, than the initial combat.

“I’m ready to do whatever my country needs me to do,” Rogers said.

Contributing to this report: Terry Boyd in Baumholder, Germany; Jessica Iñigo in Darmstadt, Germany; and Scott Schonauer in Rota, Spain.

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