Lance Corporal Juan Longoria and Juan Lucero share more than a first name in common. They share a bond from spending six months together in war-torn Iraq. Now with Saddam Hussein in U.S. custody, they share the excitement of witnessing a major objective achieved.
Longoria says, "At first I was like 'This is crazy'. Finally. Then I sat down and turned to my fiance and said 'You know what?' The world is a better place today." Corporal Lucero knows it's an important step in Iraq. He says, "The Iraqis are going to realize Americans are doing good and slowly going to take the people who have been brainwashed for years and turn them around and show them what it's like to live free."
Members of the U.S. Military have seen first hand the fear Saddam Hussein was able to inflict upon Iraqis. Longoria and Lucero both hope his capture will ease that fear and increase cooperation with U.S. troops, but they caution those troops should not let their guard down. Longoria says, "You gotta let people approach you. You never know, they could need help and you never know the bad guy could be right there with them."
Corporal Longoria's family is glad they don't have to worry about the dangers of war now. But for all reservists' families, until the United States' work is done in Iraq, there's always fear their loved ones will be called back to duty. For a brief moment, news of Saddam's capture eased that concern. Longoria says, "The phones were going off the hook, my family, my mom especially, she asked does this mean it's over? I said no, don't expect plane loads of soldiers coming home just because they caught him." Lucero says, "The families are extremely excited. It gives them hope their family will come back to them."
KCBD asked both corporals if they felt Saddam's capture helped to validate the United States' involvement in Iraq. Their answers were similar. Both say they have no doubt the war was validated from day one, especially after seeing the oppression Iraqis were living under first hand.
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