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In a remote, austere village in Iraq, the temperature is well over 100 degrees, even hotter in full battle rattle, the operations tempo is the highest it has been in months.

A junior enlisted soldier just out of Advanced Individual Training receives the order to kick in the door. He takes a deep breath, says a quick prayer and kicks. The enemy, ready for the assault, riddles him with bullets. He goes home with an Army Commendation Medal with "V" for valor, a Purple Heart and a letter for his family.

On a large, well-defended base in Baghdad, a junior noncommissioned officer or junior officer goes to work, carrying only his assigned weapon and force protection ammo. [He sits] in an air-conditioned building, next to the coffee maker, does his job and goes back to the CHU (Containerized Housing Unit). He goes home with a Defense Meritorious Service Medal and has the nerve to complain that it should have been a Bronze Star Medal.

It is a sad day in the Army when soldiers who have not yet fulfilled their original obligations, and whose main duty involves checking their Outlook account, feel they are entitled to anything.

Staff Sgt. Jorge D. SantoroCamp Victory, Iraq

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