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I am just a small cog in the big Army and have always been instructed to talk about only that which I know — and I know this: that pulling out of the Korengal without a decisive victory will leave a lot of wounds open for those of us who are veterans of the Korengal (“U.S. forces pull out of Korengal,” AP article, March 15).

The Korengal was a brutal fight and not many people will be able to understand the sacrifices that went into that valley.

When asked where I served in Afghanistan, I would tell people to Google the Korengal. Next time I would see them they would pretty much have the same response of “Wow, you guys went through some rough stuff,” and I would respond with a simple “Yep.”

For those who don’t know, this is the same valley where Navy SEAL Lt. Michael P. Murphy was killed and subsequently awarded the Medal of Honor.

My platoon linked up with the rest of my company in the Korengal in July 2006, and we stayed there until June 2007. My company lost 10 soldiers during our time in the Korengal, which was a quarter of the brigade’s killed in action. My platoon lost four of our brothers and had 25 wounded in action during our stay there.

We all wanted out of that valley by the end of the deployment, but what we didn’t want was to concede the valley. I know of several of my brothers in arms who would do anything to get back to the valley and continue the fight there.

I am not one to comment on policy, but this one hurts. There are those of us who will never forget and will continue to remember the sacrifices that were made in that valley so that we may live today.

Staff Sgt. John RhotenCamp Taji, Iraq


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