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TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2005
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EDITORIAL

115th was in one of war's hot, complicated spots

The New York Post describes Mosul as a good girl who went bad. In the north of Iraq, Mosul is a crossroads of commerce, oil transit lines and the main trucking line to nearby Turkey.

The city has about 2 million people, with Sunni Arabs making up two-thirds of the population.

Quiet in the early days of occupation, Mosul is reported as a must-win city for the insurgents, which makes the city a stepped-up target of assassinations and bombings.

The city was remarkably peaceful, given its strategic location, until early last year.

Some 210 members of the 155th Signal Battalion from Moulton deployed there about the time the war spread north.

It's been their life for the past 12 months. They came home Sunday to heroes' welcomes and with all 210 members.

Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Stanley of Courtland added a first-hand account of how life was in Mosul.

"It was a nerve-wracking area because you never knew when you would come across a mortar or a suicide bomber," he said.

Each returning soldier has a story to tell of helping to pacify the insurgents, of helping suffering people and of staying alive.

Places such as Baghdad and Fallujah made most of the headlines, but you will recall that it was in Mosul where the suicide bomber self destructed in a mess tent, and the election commission quit en masse out of fear. But on election day, some 80 percent of Mosul's eligible voters defied terrorism and voted.

The war's not over, nor is democracy a sure thing in Iraq, yet these soldiers did their part to give Iraqi citizens a chance to live in freedom at a higher standard of living.

Thanks, and welcome home.

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