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Sgt. Gabriel Garcia
Sgt. Gabriel Garcia, a father of three, is from Houston, Texas. He is 30 years old and on his third tour of duty in the Army. He describes for FRONTLINE the details of driving a convoy through the chaos of Baghdad's highways, and he explains how he copes with being away from his family while at the same time finding cohesiveness with his company in Iraq. "Ever since our team got together, we pretty much bonded," he says. "All the young guys are more like my sons than they are anything else. ... We all got our different characters, we all come from different places, but we were able to join in and be a family."

PFC Benjamin Morgan
Pfc. Benjamin Morgan, from Wilson, Okla., serves as a gunner with Dog Company. He has been in the Army for four years. Morgan describes a typical day for his unit, and says, "You kind of get numb to it, day after day, same patrols, same cleaning. A lot of times it feels good to go out and help civilians take control of their own lives again." He says the deaths of two fellow soldiers in his company have not caused him to question the mission, but have changed the way in which the team operates. "The gunners ride a little lower in their hatch now," he says. "You just try to make yourself less of a target."

Pvt. Josue Reyes
Pvt. Josue Reyes, from Denton, Texas, was sent to Iraq straight out of basic training. At 19, he is the youngest member of Dog Company. Here, he talks about the fog of combat. "You don't really think about people actually trying to kill you," he says. "You just do it. You see a guy running away and he has an RPG. It sounds kind of savage, but if you don't kill him, he will kill you." Reyes also discusses the impact of the death of a fellow soldier, and the anxiety of constantly worrying over whether the car he passes on the street is filled with explosives or whether the base will be hit by a mortar round.

Capt. Jason Whiteley
Capt. Jason Whiteley, from Lumberton, Texas, has been in the Army for six years and is the commanding officer of the Misfits, the nine-man combat group followed by FRONTLINE's cameras. In this interview, he speaks candidly about the challenges of trying to navigate the political realities on the ground in Iraq, including the division of power among Iraq's tribal, religious and political leaders. He discusses the insurgency, describing an incident in which after U.S. troops built a soccer complex for the local community and hosted a soccer tournament, they were ambushed from the same complex by some of the people who had helped finance it. Whiteley is optimistic about the long-term viability of democracy in Iraq, but argues that for now, the Iraqi people need security and infrastructure repairs to improve their daily lives. And he says the Army needs to be frank about how much time will be necessary to achieve the mission in Iraq.

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posted feb. 22, 2005

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