Nov 102004
 
Authors: Kathryn Dailey

Crossing the border from Kuwait to Iraq was like going from day

to night for 28-year-old Daniel Alexander.

The climate was the same – hot and dry – but in Iraq there were

children sitting on the sides of the streets begging for food and

water. The cement buildings were stifling, with few or no windows

and no air conditioning.

Alexander was sent to Kuwait with the United States Army in

February 2003 and then to Iraq in March 2003.

“It felt like I was doing something good for a country that

needed help,” Alexander said.

People, especially children, would cheer for the U.S. soldiers

as they drove through the streets throwing food and water to them,

Alexander said.

“Kids are cute no matter where you go,” he said.

It was hard for Alexander to see the children living in such

harsh conditions because he has a 7-year-old daughter of his

own.

“It definitely pulls at your heart strings,” he said.

Alexander was a network controller in Iraq. He managed a voice

and data network in nine locations in three countries. His job was

to provide the military with voice and data capabilities such as

the Internet and phone.

As a soldier, Alexander has generally been welcomed home warmly.

Most of the criticisms he has seen are of President Bush and the

war, but not of the soldiers themselves. He said he thinks the

media focuses too much on the negative aspects of the war, such as

fatalities, when there are many positive projects being done in

Iraq, such as building schools and roads.

“I think a lot of the people against the war don’t understand

what’s going on over there,” he said.

After being in the Army for 10 years, Alexander has seen a large

portion of the world. He has been stationed in Germany, Poland and

Korea.

He met his wife, Micky, in Korea in 1995. He said he is glad he

joined the Army because it gave him a chance to understand the

hardships others face and appreciate the freedoms he enjoys as a

U.S. citizen.

Being in the military has taught Alexander about teamwork and

leadership and has helped him focus on finishing his liberal arts

degree.

Alexander, a senior, received a two-year scholarship to CSU.

He will be returning to active duty when he graduates. He wants

to earn his degree so he can be commissioned as an officer.

Maj. Heather Herrera, a recruiting officer and one of

Alexander’s instructors at CSU, said he is a very determined

student and is excellent at time management skills and balancing

his roles as a father, husband and student.

“He’s very prepared,” Herrera said. “You can always count on him

if something falls through.”

Alexander has a different perspective than the average student

who has not served in the military, she said. He gives the other

military sciences students a real world perspective instead of just

an academic one.

“He knows what it’s like to be in a stressful environment, and

he keeps everyone laid-back,” said Cadet Jamie Anderson, a senior

equine science major who knows Anderson through the ROTC. “He’s a

gentlemen. He’s very sweet; he’ll listen when you want to talk, but

he gets things done. He gives 100 percent all the time.”

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