Area soldiers in Iraq take frozen water bottles to start their day in the desert heat and drink while the ice melts.
They drink about two gallons of water per day and have semi-trailers full of ice at their remote forward operating base.
The 152 Minnesota Army National Guard soldiers in Company A, 1st Battalion, 194th Armor are based near Baghdad.
Capt. Mike Pazdernik, company commander, who was recently home on leave, said the unit had probably gained from being in Iraq since early January. They endured the mud and rainy season and had time to get used to the increasing heat, in excess of 130 degrees. Pazdernik likened the experience to putting on the winter snowmobile gear in July. He said with Minnesota's humidity, a steamy 100-degree day here is an example of the heat levels over there. When he got off the plane in Minnesota, Pazdernik said the air was so heavy here compared to the desert he felt like he walked into a wall.
The Family Readiness Group in Brainerd has a program planned to help people learn more about what area soldiers are experiencing now and throughout the deployment overseas. A meeting is set later this month with a chaplain who will share his experiences and the two wars he and his family went through.
Maj. John Morris, deputy state chaplain, is expected to talk about his insights and answer questions based on his 21 years of experience. He will be speaking at the Family Readiness Group at 7 p.m., Aug. 22, at the Lakewood Evangelical Free Church in Baxter. The program is open to the public.
A meal and child care for families of deployed soldiers begins at 5:45 p.m. Families are asked to contact the Family Readiness Group to let them know if they will partake in the meal or need the child care. The church's youth group will help with entertaining the children.
The 194th Tank Regiment is hosting a $2 brat and beverage fund-raiser from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Brainerd Cub Foods store to help the troops and their families. Profits from the sale go to the Family Readiness Group to support its program.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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