Defending the county is a dirty job and Sgt. Mark Pitts stand ready for daily duty at Camp Liberty in Iraq.
Imagine a land where thermometers register over 100 degrees nearly every day, where there is very little cloud cover and dust permeates every crack and crevasse. Snipers and roadside bombs also are a real danger in Iraq.
Sgt. Mark Pitts, Army National Guard, has lived in the weather and danger of Iraq every day since March when he was deployed for his second tour of duty. Pitts and his wife, Laura, are Phillips County natives and they have three boys, Brian, 11, Ethan, 9, and Seth, 5.
Pitts is able to communicate by e-mail and says he and others stationed at Camp Liberty “are doing just fine.”
Pitts does get to talk to his family by cell phone every day from the front line. Needless to say the Pitts go through a lot of phone cards.
“We get to talk everyday. He can’t really tell me a lot but he says things have improved,” said Laura.
In 2004, Pitts was stationed at Camp Taji during a time of high crisis.
His new post, Camp Liberty Iraq, or Camp al-Tahreer, is located northeast of Baghdad International Airport.
The base has the largest PX in Iraq and a large “mall” with over 70 Iraqi national vendors. The base is divided into three areas, Division LSA (Life Support Area), West LSA, and Camp Blackjack.
Each of these three divisions has its own dining facility, a morale recreation and welfare building, chapel, mini-PX, gym, Internet cafe, and barbershop. Each also has its own volleyball and basketball courts. Burger King, Kentucky Fried Chicken and other fast food establishments also can be found at the PX.
Pitts reports that the dining experience in Iraq is okay.
“The food here is OK, we get a variety of food each night along with fruit and deserts,” he said.
Pitts says that serving his country has always been his dream and is a family tradition.
“My father and oldest brother served in the service and I wanted to follow in their footsteps,” he said from a computer halfway across the world on a dusty plain in Iraq.
For 18 years Pitts has served in the Army National Guard. Unfortunately, most questions asked Pitts could not be answered for security reasons. Pitts says he misses the United States but most of all he misses his wife and three boys.
Laura says that she and the children are holding up well. As for what the children think about their dad, she says they are handling the situation “all right.”
“The boys are all right but the oldest one struggles,” said Laura. She says he understands the danger involved and mostly worries about his father.
Back in Iraq, Pitts says he and other soldiers would dearly love to hear from folks back home. He says they would really appreciate a thank you note or just a quick hello from people in the county. To send Pitts or any solider a letter, phone cards or gifts write to A CO 39TH BSB / 168 BSB, CAMP LIBERTY, IRAQ, APO AE 09344.
The Daily World