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"Winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people is one of the main things of this war." (Video Interview 14:38.2)

   Eric James March
Image of Eric James March
Eric March [2006]
War: Iraq War, 2003-2011
Branch: Army
Unit: C Company, 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment, Army National Guard
Service Location: Auburn, California; Kuwait; Iraq
Rank: Specialist
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Eric March enlisted in the Army National Guard right out of high school, and his first day of training was September 11, 2001. His infantry unit was eventually assigned to Iraq, where he served as a gunner or driver on a patrol vehicle in Baghdad. His company suffered "quite a few casualties," though only one fatality, a well-loved sergeant for whom the unit set up a trust fund to pay for his daughter's education. March cites the brotherhood in his company, which allowed the men to talk freely about personal problems, to ease some of the stress of their deployment. After his release from the Guard, he decided to work as a civilian in their Sacramento headquarters, passing on the benefits of his experience to others.

Interview (Video)
»Interview Highlights  (8 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: video (46 min.)
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 Video (Interview Excerpts) (8 items)
Starting basic training on 9/11; making the adjustment to being away from home for the first time. (01:19) Learned to be a mortar man; recalling his drill instructors; keeping a low profile to stay our of trouble; getting called up for Operation Iraqi Freedom; simulating battle conditions stateside; getting "killed" twice; sent to Kuwait; weapons he was issued; he was a marksman because of his shooting prowess. (07:22) Arriving in Baghdad; setting up at a Forward Operating Base 45 minutes outside the Green Zone; phasing in to relieve other National Guard units, patrolling sectors for enemy activity; ingratiating themselves with the locals; worked as either a gunner or driver. (04:12)
Seeing a truck behind his in a convoy hit by an IED; during their tour, his company suffered "quite a few casualties," one KIA, a sergeant killed by a sniper; setting up a college trust fund for the man's daughter; company awarded 60-70 Purple Hearts; talking about his awards and the patches on his uniform; handing out candy and toys to the local kids. (07:01) Feeling stress and the pressure to perform; brotherhood was important; they were able to talk about their personal problems with each other. (02:04) Arriving at the Sacramento airport to thousands of people welcoming them home (00:42)
Decided he liked the military life better, so he got a job with the National Guard office in Sacramento with the Veterans Honors program, which fans out over the state to do military honors for funerals. (02:05) Effects of military service on his life. (00:48) 
  
 

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  October 26, 2011
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