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Why We Serve: Marine Acts on Determination to Share His Story

By Meghan Vittrup
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3, 2007 – A Marine combat engineer who has served in Iraq is determined to help Americans understand the situation there as servicemembers see it.

Second Lt. David Bradt said he “became a Marine to serve something greater than myself.”

“I joined to fight for this country and to lead Marines in combat, which I have done,” he said in a recent interview. “I want to know that those whom I love sleep safely at night because of what I and the rest of the Marines do. There is no greater honor than being a U.S. Marine and fighting for your country.”

Since October 2005, Bradt has been deployed to Iraq twice. His company worked to discover and destroy weapons caches.

“We completed numerous different kinds of missions, most often being weapons-cache sweeps,” the combat engineer said. “The unit I was with discovered and subsequently destroyed thousands and thousands of pounds of explosives, ensuring they could not be used against coalition forces.”

Destroying the weapons caches helped prevent insurgents from creating more improvised explosive devices and helped further secure the Iraqi people, as well as fellow Marines and coalition forces.

Bradt is one of eight servicemembers who have served in Iraq, Afghanistan or the Horn of Africa who have been selected to speak to American community groups and businesses across the nation as a part of the Defense Department’s “Why We Serve” public-outreach program.

The Why We Serve program was the idea of Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The program began in the fall of 2006. Eight servicemembers, two from each service, are chosen to participate in the program quarterly.

“It is my turn to sort of fight a new fight,” Bradt said, “to tell my story and tell the story of my Marines who couldn’t be here.”

Bradt said he is excited to meet and talk to new people and about sharing his experiences to describe of the realities of war.

He feels that Americans cannot truly understand the situation in Iraq if they only pay attention to the news. He said he wants to use personal experiences to broaden people’s views of the war in Iraq.

“This is what is known as (the) fourth dimension (of) warfare, and the enemy attacks popular support for the war at home,” Bradt said. “We need to be the ones that are fighting that fight and fighting the negative broadcasting that we are inundated with so much during the day, all day by telling our own story and showing that there are so many positive things that are happening in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“The only reason why people don’t know about it is because they aren’t told,” he added. “It seems like nobody will tell them, but I will.”

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