U.S. Army Pfc. Amber Bryant
Medic Volunteers to Serve
by Sgt. Mark Bell, 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. (released).
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Pfc. Amber Bryant, a medic with C Company, 47th Forward Support Battalion, 1st Armored Division, wants to be on the front lines of Operation Iraqi Freedom every day.
Bryant volunteered to stand guard duty at Baghdad's busiest checkpoint at the former presidential compound, the scene of frequent protests and sometimes violent demonstrations. In addition to being ready to perform first aid to U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians in case of emergency, she also works with sentries searching women and girls wanting to enter the compound.
"Why sit around in a hanger and wait for something to happen," she said. "I want to be where the action is and what better place than right here." Although her medical unit's headquarters on the Baghdad International Airport has electricity, running water and a nearby Burger King, Bryant chooses the life of the infantryman as her role in the ongoing peacekeeping mission inside the city's center.
"I'll be honest, I joined the Army for college money," she said. "I never thought I'd be here in Iraq, let alone in the middle of protests and riots, but I am here every day helping the Iraqi people after the fall of the regime of Saddam." To some, it could be seemingly unimportant, but Bryant's job of searching females requesting entrance to the compound is just as important as the male soldiers standing point at the razor-wire's edge.
"Females are just as capable of delivering a bomb or weapons into the palace," she said. "Because in Iraqi society, men can't search females, and that is why I am at the front gate," she explained. "I also believe it shows the women of Iraq that women are equal and can do anything a man does - even fight a war."
Bryant is no stranger to danger. Reporting to the main gate is an adventure in itself. From rock throwing to sniper attacks, Bryant and fellow soldiers controlling the gate put their lives on the line daily. As the media paints a different picture than Bryant sees each day, she said it is important to tell the real stories about the Iraqi people.
"Americans who disagree with what we are doing, might understand how much we've helped this country and its people," she said. "We are doing the right thing here. I just know it. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but someday, people will see the change we made." Bryant said not only should people support the military but also join the military to learn true discipline.
"No matter how mad you get at your boss, you just have to say "Roger, Sergeant," and move out to execute the mission." Bryant said she is proud to be serving side-by-side the infantrymen and sharing the goals of Operation Iraqi Freedom: to bring freedom and safe and secure communities to the Iraqi people.
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