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Kosiak's Iraq: The good, the bad...and the horrifying

"I'm awfully glad to be back," said Sgt. Kevin Kosiak, who is back to his music teaching position at Perham High School.

"I'm proud of my service, but I'm glad to get my life back...Glad to be back as a civilian-soldier, rather than an active duty soldier," said Kosiak, who has been a weekend soldier for the Army National Guard for 12 years. As a young man, he served four years active duty in the Air Force, from 1976-1980.

Here are a few of his comments on life in Iraq during his one year tour:

The Good. "The food is good--too good," laughed Kosiak. "Soldiers in Iraq want for nothing--they take very good care of the soldiers deployed there."

"The best food I ever had in the military was over in Iraq," said Kosiak.

"Most rewarding was the appreciation I felt from the Iraqis who were getting work through our office. These men were only making $16 a day, but they were so appreciative of steady work. I got to know some of them very well and felt we had a mutual respect for each other," said Kosiak. "I was able, through the help of Perham students back home, to have toys and gifts sent over to give to the men to give to their children. At $16 a day, there wasn't much money for gifts, so these men were overjoyed to be able to bring something home to their kids. That made me feel pretty great."

The Bad. "The hardest part for me was living in the barracks. Last time I did that was at Air Force basic in 1976. It is an absolute lack of privacy. I taught myself to read while listening to music, with my was the only way to get any privacy at all," said Kosiak.

The Horrifying. "The most tense moments were the random mortar attacks," said Kosiak. "So indiscriminate and so deadly. The worst was near the end of my tour when they targeted a civilian area just outside our base. The U.S. had just finished building a soccer field for the Iraqi kids and the insurgents targeted the soccer field during a match. Ten kids were killed in that one attack."