Thank you for "Iraq to Afghanistan: A radical adjustment" (article, Dec. 18). While I can appreciate the quick and arduous transition the soldiers of 4th Engineer Battalion made from one theater to another, the reporter should not construct the illusion that life in Iraq is easy.

A soldier’s military occupational specialty may require him to spend hours each day behind a computer. His contributions to Operation Iraqi Freedom are of equal importance to those who leave the wire.

In addition, do not determine a position’s importance by number of hours logged. My mechanics work on their feet for a mere nine hours every day. They, like every other soldier in the platoon, are also on call 24 hours.

I have the use of Internet, as do some of my peers in Afghanistan, but it is by no means "high speed" or reliable.

My position as a fire direction officer does not require me to leave the base. After my eight-hour shift, I hold meetings with my sergeants, plan and attend training events, spot-check daily operations and serve as the officer in charge of a variety of details.

Finally, last time I checked, a "normal job" didn’t require employees to spend holidays thousands of miles from their families. The boots on the ground have no say in where their unit deploys.

How easy or hard this time in theater is depends on the individual and his command. Certain locations may have more luxuries, but they are not limited to Iraq, and ultimately, there is no place like home.

Second Lt. Chrysa GumbsForward Operating Base Hammer, Iraq

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