Posted: Aug 18, 2010 3:29 PM by Irina Cates
Updated: Aug 19, 2010 6:22 AM
MISSOULA - A Charlo soldier who spent a tour in Iraq, and most recently returned from a tour in Afghanistan, says that the challenges faced in thee two countries are completely different.
Jordan Kost serves in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Iraq in September of 2007 where he spent 14 months patrolling parts of the country and trying to help the people who live there.
"We were up in more northern Iraq. It's a lot of farm lands, it's hot. So it's a mix of desert and what they can irrigate. We kind of bordered Tigers River. Everything out there is made out of brick or adobe because of the heat in the summers and most of the roads over there are paved. It's a third world country, but it's not bad," Kost told us.
He added that his Iraq tour was fairly quiet and they didn't have too many contacts with the enemy, but when they did it was usually roadside bombs.
"90% of the time it's just hitting a bomb. And that is what it is, you're driving down the road, something blows up next to your, near you, close to you and you just have to shake it off, make sure everyone's okay and keep going," said Kost.
Kost says during his Iraq tour, about 16 people in his company were injured from small gun fire and roadside bombs. He added that a lot his company's work focused on serving Iraqi communities, which included helping the kids by donating school supplies.
"In 20 years down the road the kids are going to be the ones that leading these countries. They make all the difference. What we do to them today is going to translate to how they view America," Kost commented.
He was deployed to Afghanistan in September of 2009 and returned from his tour last month.
"If Iraq is a third world country, Afghanistan is about an eighth world country in a lot of places. No facilities, the Taliban outlawed a lot of stuff-electricity, TVs, radios. It's a 100 years ago out there. They grow everything they eat," said Kost.
Kost says their mission in Afghanistan was similar to the one in Iraq, but they saw a lot more enemy attacks in Afghanistan. He told us that the main weapon used in Afghanistan is the roadside bomb and that's what they mostly saw when it came to dealing with the enemy.
His company lost four people on that tour. Two were killed by a roadside bomb and the other two by a suicide bomber.
"And that was part of the experience, the learning of an area. You don't know what the enemy is doing; you don't know what their tendencies are," said Kost. "Sometimes they catch you...you make a mistake or they just get lucky."
He says the members of American Armed Forces always hope to make a difference is the lives of the people who live in the areas they serve.