RUSH: It wasn’t long ago that I interviewed for my newsletter Army Captain David Rozelle. He was wounded in Iraq. He lost half of one of his legs. He has had a prosthetic device reattached, passed all of the physicals and training regimen necessary and has been sent back. He’s been back a little over two to three weeks, maybe a month now. When I hung up with him during the interview for the newsletter I gave him the number and said, “Stay in touch with us. Let us know what’s going on over there,” because we always love to hear from people on the ground in the midst of things, just what’s happening. The news out of Iraq, politically pretty good, pretty successful. They’ve got a new president, he’s a Kurd. Everybody is still hoping in the press for civil war over this. If you look at the New York Times headline about this, troubled signs over this. There are upset feelings. Of course there are upset feelings, it’s a democracy, or it’s a budding democracy and you have losers and they’re upset, naturally. But nevertheless, they’re trying to foment or hope for, in the pages of the New York Times, a civil war. Captain Rozelle’s book, Back in Action, Captain David Rozelle, and welcome back to the program, sir, great to have you with us. Where are you, and what are you doing right now?
ROZELLE: Hey, Rush, I’m actually right outside of Baghdad, and just commanding my troops. It’s actually evening and everyone is taking kind of a break tonight because it’s long hard days in the sun here.
RUSH: So temperatures have gotten now uncomfortably hot?
ROZELLE: Well, there was a period of last week where it got into the hundreds, but today was pretty nice. It barely broke 80 degrees so it was actually a beautiful day here in Iraq.
RUSH: How long have you been back, David? I’ve forgotten, has it been two or three weeks?
ROZELLE: Actually I’ve been gone for about five and a half weeks, but how time flies, huh? But I’ve been in Iraq for just over two weeks now.
RUSH: Okay, been in Iraq for two weeks. Now, how does it differ from now that you’ve reentered the country as opposed to when you left?
ROZELLE: Well, I think, you know, in Back in Action I described the feeling of what it was like to initially go north into Iraq, and that’s really the same feeling I had this time as I headed north out of Kuwait into Iraq. This time I felt more confident in the sense that I felt like I had the ability to lead the soldiers and I knew what was ahead. Of course, there’s the uncertainty of the IEDs and things like that but we’ve come back with better equipment and better training and we’re a better Army.
RUSH: What do you think the situation on the ground in Iraq is? We’re getting conflicting reports back here as always, but if you weed through them it seems Fallujah seems to be secure now, seems like in Mosul I just read today that we’re going to be testing the — we’re going to — Iraqi security and military forces totally take over the security in Mosul as a test to see if they’re ready. People are talking about a timetable for withdrawing troops maybe even beginning by the end of this year which indicates that progress on the ground over there is pretty dramatic.
ROZELLE: I think compared to last time I was here, of course, things have become tremendously better. For one, I’ll tell you, the entire road march up here, there were Iraqi security forces along the highways at every checkpoint, at every overpass securing our move, and that was such a different feeling this time of having, no kidding, Iraqis guarding me as I moved north in their country to get to my location, and that’s a real testament of success right there. And then today with the actual naming of a president and, you know, there’s success here every day. You do have to weed through it unless you’re here and see it firsthand.
RUSH: So what is your morale like, the morale of the men that you’re commanding, yours personally? You sound pretty up talking to you, but what about the morale of all the troops that you’ve come in contact there that you can talk about?
ROZELLE: Well, certainly, you know, I’m seeing guys that are currently leaving. Of course they’re overjoyed after, you know, being here anywhere from six months to a year to get back home. But I think everyone shares a real sense of good here. When you see physically see the progress you make on the ground here that gives soldiers a good feeling about what they’re going home to and they can be part of this history. It’s really incredible.
RUSH: Let me ask you a question about the way you all live over there, and I ask this because I went to Afghanistan in February. When I interviewed you for the newsletter I didn’t have time to get into this aspect of your life over there. But I was struck by it because I’d never seen it before. I’d never seen how an Army such as ours, a military, sets up camp, and how they basically live, and I did see that in Afghanistan, and it’s not something the average American understands, and probably not something the average American would put up with very long. Just the lengths you have to go to — that I saw, anyway — to take showers, to use latrines, sleeping circumstances. What are your digs, what your quarters like over there, how often do you get to take a shower, meals, regularly scheduled when you have time when you’re not out in the field, what’s it like actually living as an armed forces member over there in Iraq?
ROZELLE: Well, I’ll tell you, compared to last time it’s 180 degrees because last time I was here, as I described in Back in Action, my first shower was three weeks down the road and we ate MREs every day for, you know, the first couple weeks. Now that we’re here, we’ve got great facilities. Obviously a normal person would find it largely uncomfortable, but compared to living off of my tank literally, I’ve got a tent, I’ve got a shower near walking distance, I’ve got port-a-john near walking distance. Certainly it’s not living in a hotel, but you’re at war, so this is pretty all right.
RUSH: No, that’s just it. I wouldn’t expect it to be a hotel. See, here’s the point that I derived from the answer. I mean, he’s satisfied with it. Folks, believe me, and I guess it’s understandable to some, you don’t go into a foreign country and set up villages that have normal conveniences that we’re all used to, and I know people are not immune to that, they’re not surprised about that. I just was struck by the relative Spartanness of it and the fact that you’re there for nine months to a year, sometimes longer if you do a couple of other tours. It just made me admire and be in awe of what you all do more than ever, because there’s so few Americans — this is not to put them down. There’s just so few Americans that would do what you have volunteered to do and all the others in the US military, and it just increased my sense of appreciation for what you all do.
ROZELLE: Well, thank you, Rush. And the most important thing to remember is it’s temporary. You know, we don’t want to set up camp too good here because we don’t want to be here forever. We want to have the Iraqis take over, and we want to get home. I mean, the ultimate goal is to turn these camps back over to the Iraqis so they can build the structures they need and run their army and their air force and whatever else they need to secure themselves, and we’re here on a temporary basis and we want them to know that we can live like Bedouins until they can get themselves together and get their security straight so we can get outta here. We’re ready.
RUSH: What have some of your recent assignments been that you can talk about? What kind of action have you been involved in, if you can talk about it?
ROZELLE: Well, obviously day-to-day operations are still classified, but, you know, as a headquarters troop commander I have a specific role to support the headquarters, which is a little different than last time. I spent more time on foot patrols and things like that. I’m much more secure this time because, you know, I’ve been promoted in a sense and I have a higher command, but there’s still high adventure, we’re still in a war zone.
RUSH: That is for sure. Captain, I appreciate your calling us. I’m glad you had a great day in Iraq today weather-wise, at least get some comforts of home, and keep us posted. Anything comes up you think we’d all like to know about, by all means give us a buzz and let us know.
ROZELLE: Love to talk to you again. Thanks for having me back on.
RUSH: You bet. That’s Captain David Rozelle, author of Back in Action. Suffered a very severe leg wound, had to have part of his leg amputated, prosthetic device attached, and he passed all the rigorous physical exams, training exams to get back and is now leading another command, couldn’t wait to get back over there. We talked to him for a newsletter interview recently, and gave him the phone number to stay in touch since we had the opportunity to get in touch with somebody on the ground over there, and he called today and we fulfilled our commitment to him to put him on when he called.