Lakeland Flag Goes to Iraq


Mrs. Maureen O'Donnell, Class of 2000 Advisor and David Winter, Class of 2000
On December 23, 2004 David Winter, member of the Lakeland High School's Class of 2000, came to the school to take the flag from the flagpole to travel to Iraq with him and his unit. David is deployed as of January 28, 2005 on a 12 to 18 month tour with the Third Infantry. In December, he requested a flag to take with him as a symbol of the support The Lakeland Central School District has offered the men and women of the armed forces. Upon his return to the United States, David will bring the flag back to the high school bearing the signatures of the men and women in his platoon. David is a member of the Scout Platoon and will be checking in with Mrs. O'Donnell when he can.
Update on David's Location
February through May Updates
Picture Gallery
As of December 22

Dave's flight was delayed and he is expected to return to Fort Stewart, Georgia on December 24 or 25. Below is a link to a story on the welcome home that the Third Infantry soldiers received on Tuesday, December 20.

WTOC Story

As of December 12

Hello all.
Ah, the holidays are here and I'm almost out of here. 7 more days. But before I leave I need to be a Quick Reaction Force for our IA(Iraqi Amry ) soldiers. They will be guarding the polls and I will be sleeping in a dangerous place. I love my job, even more so that I'm leaving soon to join my wife for
Christmas. Although it will not be a truly good Christmas because my other family will still be here in Iraq and working both Christmas Eve and Christmas. They will be escorting the new unit to our palace.

I was thinking about things I could tell the students at Lakeland, about things we do over here, unfortunately things I will think are funny will not be to anyone other then people that have been in my position. Things are starting to crap out on us. Like my roommate's dvd player is dying, my charger for my computer fried, and our trucks are having problems, but they are fixed very quickly.

The thought of coming back as a Military Police SGT next time is funny to us, because its not a combat job. Although they do get into some trouble as seen by the number of MP's that have died in this war. But the knowledge and training I have from this deployment and the next just make it easier to do my job. But not easier to leave my wife and family. We have all made sacrifices and I would do it again with out a second thought. As I leave Iraq, to return to the states I understand that I have become a veteran of a war that loses support, and I join the ranks of people from past wars and just have to laugh at people who ask me why I do what I do. The only answer I can think of is "Because you don't."

Everyone that has supported me and my fellow soldiers past, present and future, I thank you very much for everything. All the prayers and care packages mean so much to us, thank you again.

Until I return


As of December 1

Well I have 18 more days left in country. I will make it back to my wife and be state side for christmas. Things here are not too bad. We are doing a lot of redeployment related thing, such as packing our rooms, all our gear and conexs. But also we are still working with the Iraqi Army. The Iraq elections are coming up in a week, so we will be in harms way once again. We will have another mission which is not set yet but is also very dangerous. In saying this I know all of you will email me back and tell me to keep my head in the game, and trust me I, as well as my fellow soldiers, know that if we don't have our heads in the game some one dies. All the guys here will perform excellently under any conditions we encounter between now and when we set foot onto that bird for the states. My computer has died on me so it will take me a while to reply to
emails. If I don't answer right away don't worry, its in someone else's room charging. That's the only bad news for now.
Good news I will be in NY after the 5th of February, until an undetermined time. I have 21 days of leave so I don't know how much will be spent in NY just yet. Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was good and the following holidays are just as good to ya'll. Until next time.


As of November 21

Hello All.
Well some really cool missions for us this week. Sniper and Scouts did a sniper mission on a dangerous road but the mission was not a success. Then last night my IA (Iraqi Army) company and my MiTT team did a raid on a mosque. Because it was a Mosque it went really high up to get approved and this raid was the only 1 of 4 to get approved. The Iraqi Army company I trained has been prepping all week for it and they were told last minute that it was a mosque. We thought they wouldn't do it but they didn't care. We told them bad guys were in there. They found nothing except a few guards and some women and children. The only causality was my friend SPC Santos. He got a grazing gun shot wound from an IA training to breach the door. He's on mission right now.

Thanksgiving is this week and I only have 28 days left of this country. I'm still waiting for my orders after school assigning me to a new duty station so I can't say if I'm coming back or not. So everyone have a very good thanksgiving. I know I will. The battalion officers are serving food. Thank you everyone.


As of November 10

Hello every one,
Friday is Veteran's day, a day to remember what these fine men and
women have done for us and those who will live in our country. For me it used
to be just a day off from school, and then it was a day off from work. Now I
see it as a day for me to see what I have done and what other service
members have done. Not all of us have important jobs. Some have some jobs
that don't mean anything to some and a lot to others. When we were living at
FOB Independence, I had to rely on our cooks and mechanics, without these
guys I would go hungry and be in danger. Here on Prosperity, we rely on them
too but not as much. The difference is that there was only a total of 8
support guys up there. Here there is a whole company of them.
I do like hearing old stories though, growing up the old men used to
corner me and bore me to death, but now I really like hearing them. And the
funny thing is that when I get old I will be able to corner some poor kid and bore him with my stories.

Well if you happen to see a Vet on Friday say thank you and shake his or her
hand. Ya'll have a good weekend. I wish I was there too.



As of November 6
Hello everyone.
Down to 40 days until I leave Iraq. Things are going a little slow as
you could imagine. But some good things have come into the picture, I was
officially promoted to SGT on the 6th of November, and I have the blood stains to prove it. Also we will be doing real Scout stuff soon. Our mission with
the Iraqi Army is about up, we will be transitioning to a Quick Reaction
Force meaning if the IA get into trouble we will go bail them out. 4th
Infantry is on their way to us, we hand every thing over to those boys in
December. Almost a month until I leave.
I'm looking forward to coming home, my views have changed a lot and
I know I have changed a little- hopefully for the best. I can't wait
to see everyone when I return to the states.

Happy Holidays


As of October 21

Hello every one.

Well the count down has started. I have less then 60 days now. I will be coming back to the states in December sometime between the 16th and 25th. So I can't wait, I'll get to spend the holiday in Georgia with my wife and dogs. Its the same for everyone else, we are all getting ready to
re deploy, things equipment is being gathered up to be counted and stored for the next unit. We have already transferred all our chemical equipment to the 101st Airborne, 4th Infantry Division will start arriving soon. 4ID is from Fort Hood, TX and they are lucky enough to replace us, and we are happy to step aside and let them. So along with the preparation for the turn over, we have had to start working with the Iraqi Army again. Holding there hand like we did when we first started. The lazy people that they are, come to find out, they have been skipping patrol in the early hours of the morning. So the MIT teams have had a lot of patrols in the 2am to 4am time frame. All the work we have done is being redone.

Well that's all I've got for now. Can't wait to see everyone in February when I'm home in NY for my vacation.


As of September 27

Hello all,

The past week has been an avenger, 2 car bombs in our area, one a little to
close to home. 30 meters from and american, and a very good friend. He's ok
though. The good part about this is the Iraqi soldier that did die in the
explosion saw the signs of trouble and made the suicide bomber set
off the car bomb early. Now this is good for 2 reasons. First, it stopped him
from hitting his original target which could have been a busy market or a school house and second our IA (Iraqi Army) soldiers are doing a great job and actually listening to what we say.

I re-enlisted yesterday for 4 more years as a Military Police officer. My
platoon leader re-enlisted me and then I was thrown into the lake on
Prosperity. We now know that it does not have any blood poisoning agents.
Because I don't have any signs of blood poisoning. Rest ashore that if
I did I would have been treated and been just fine.

Side note we were told today that first class mail stops December 1, slow
mail Nov 15th, so if you want to send me anything then you have little over
month and half left.

Thanks for everything



As of September 19, 2005
Hello every one,

This week is a very sad week for my military family. We lost 3 men in, in a manner that showed weakness. The people who try to harm us are known as AIF (I can't remember what it means but they are the ones who set traps for us and try to kill us). This week they scored 3 more men to their record. The specifics don't matter, what matters is that these fine men were in an Abrams tank when they were attacked. The 1st tank driver was killed instantly, the 1st Sergeant of the company was the loader of the tank, they pulled him out and he died 3 minutes from the hospital. The 3rd soldier was also a driver, he wasn't as lucky as the first driver. Yes lucky. An Abrams is 65 tons of armor, hard cold steel and its one hell of a machine. When the explosion went off, the steel around the drivers hull crushed in to his face, so the guys that were there trying to pull him out couldn't. They tried to talk to him through his head set they wear on the tanks. All they heard was faint breathing and then it stopped. We will have a service here for us to say good bye. Although I've been lucky in our area, it just shows that our enemy will not stop just because he sees tanks or Bradley coming. Tonight as I listen to a man play Amazing Grace on a set of bag pipes, it reminds me of why I'm here. Even though a US Soldier stands up and says "We are the greatest force around, and you can't stop me," it just shows they can.
We suffered a great defeat this week but we will strike back in our own way. As for the soldiers who passed, they will never be forgotten. To the fallen soldiers, families we should all send thanks and prayers for them. I know I will.

Hopefully next time I write I will have some pleasant news. Thank you all for everything.



As of September 6, 2005
Thank you all, I did pass the Board. Come November 1st I will be a E-5/ Sergeant in the US Army.
Thanks Again


As September 5, 2005
Well tomorrow is a big day for me and my friend Omy. We are going to the board to become Sergeants. Wish us luck.

Even better news is that I was given a return date, we start to get to count down now. A little over 90 working days, then what we call right seat left seat rides and Hand over to the replacing unit and then Home. As of right now or return date is 14th of January. I started the move to Prosperity so now half of my gear is there and half is here at Independence. We should be fully moved next week.
So some good news coming down the line. Hope very one is good.
Happy Labor Day


As of August 28, 2005

Hello all,
A lot has been going on here the past few weeks. I've been studying for my promotion board only 9 more days until the board. Missions upon missions, and our Iraqi Army soldiers are getting better each day. Some problems here and there but then again we weren't perfect when the US Army was formed either. Members of the 10th Mountain Division have moved into our
Base, but we still are here until at least another 30 days or so. Which is a
good thing because there are a lot of people back at Prosperity (we call them
FOBets because they never leave the fob), are out to screw us over. One such
event has started already. We have to send 2 guys every couple days to do
guard in one of the towers. Well there are more than enough people to do
guard down there that don't do it already, but they want us. Things here at
Independence are a little more relaxed then Prosperity. For example we don't
salute officers here, most of us wear civilian cloths at night to sleep in but we walk around in them until then, we walk around with out our hats on or no uniform tops(just T-shirts and pants) or sleeves rolled up. At Prosperity if they see any of that we get fried. There are people over there that walk around just looking to get other soldiers in trouble. One thing we got used to was walking around the FOB with out our weapons, that is a no go in FOBet land. These people don't need weapons there, its inside the International Zone and they never leave the place anyway. Now there are some who do leave but majority of them never leave the Green zone. And its those type that get us in trouble. Well enough of that.
The weather is getting cooler now, a couple weeks ago it was 140 and this week its been about 110. Now that might not seem like a difference to the people from NY who are used to never going above 95. But here 110 is good, its like 90 at night or early morning so not bad. Another month and we will be turning on heaters in the barracks.
Hope every ones summer is going well, I know mine is. We should be getting our Official unofficial return dates here soon. We know it won't be before Christmas but that's ok. I should be home for my birthday though.
Talk to every one soon

As of August 9, 2005
So bad news first, we are staying until the end of January. So its a 1 year deployment. Second we are moving back to the palace in September. Sure the food is bad in our current base and we rely on a generator that shuts off when it overheats and when the Iraqi National Guard steals our fuel, and we use port-a-johns all the time; but at least we stay out of trouble, and we don't bother any one when we play or party. So we have to try and be good for the 4 months that we have to stay at Prosperity (the palace). The good news is that we have some marines attached to us to help out and they love our little humble abode. Alpha company Iraqi Army is the talk of the division these days because we have trained them so well and they conducted a mission with our Dealer Company, Tank company for my unit, and did such a great job. The commander of my unit even came to the base here to tell use what a good job we are doing.

I still miss home but not as much when I got here because I'm going home in 5 months. I think not only the training we have gotten keeps us safe but for me there's another reason. I think everyone should know the most important reason I'm making it through this deployment. That reason is my wife, Jessica. She is the most wonderful woman in the world. Next month we will celebrate our second wedding anniversary an ocean and a few countries away. I love you Jessica and I can't wait to see you when we get back to the States.



As of July 10, 2005

Hello every one. Just checking in to let every one know that I'm still alive. If you have read in the papers the past few days or watched it on tv you will know that once again Baghdad was hit by bombings.

Bomb kills Baghdad recruits, memo flags troop cuts

If you read this article you will see Muthanna Airfield, or as we call it FOB Independence. Yes the very camp I live on. The south end is occupied by the Iraqi Army only. None of the US soldiers were there when this happened. We never go to that part of the base for that reason.

In better news, it is just getting hotter here and we still patrol 2-3 times a day. Night patrols aren't any better it feels like it just gets hotter. The packages that I have gotten from people lately have really helped things a long. I unfortunately took leave too early and will be missing some very important events in July, which I will get to see how it happened through pictures hopefully. I still think that I have been given the opportunity of my life to see new things and think long and hard on how grateful I am to be an American, and a proud soldier of our great country.

Keep the emails coming. I do like writing replies to people when I get the chance.


As of June 28 2005

Hello everyone,
Sorry I haven't written in a while, we have been quite busy. We are patrolling a lot more now and in a new area everyday. Our sector is nice and westernized, there are a couple of Christian churches there and people who speak English pretty well. This area is also a little more dangerous, it made the paper the other day when 4 car bombs killed 40 people. The thing about the 4th car bomb was that a couple of kids found it and ran 2 miles to one of our check points and showed the GIs where it was. It was defused and no one was hurt thanks to those kids. The bad thing is that it was set 75-100 meters away from the first 2 which is right where the local Police and the American Army would have been sitting. So those 2 kids saved more lives then they know. I happened to be closer to that explosion then I wanted to be.

Thanks for all the packages and letters. I'm trying to reply to emails that I get but I'm busy and its taken me some time, I will do it when I have some down time.

Have a good Summer




As of June 3, 2005

Today was a good day. We had some fun and no work. Today we had pig for
dinner. As we were tending to the pigs (from Jordan there are no pigs in Iraq), everything felt really cool, almost like being home but no alcohol.(Not allowed in Iraq either) But for those few hours things set in to place and we were in another world, until four mortar rounds were launched about 100 or so meters west of us. They went screaming over our heads and landed on Hifa Street. Then of course we went running to inform our chain of command and started getting ready, but nothing happened and we went back to the pigs. Later this evening, we all sat down and played cards and dominos and talked about everything and nothing. No talk about work. As it got dark I had to go and get dressed for my guard shift. I was in my room when there was some explosions, running out side and seeing flares I figured it was just the guys popping flares and flash bangs. This is our way of having fire works. I get to my guard post and the Iraqi National Guard guys are flipping out because there is a fire on the other side of the wall. I guess the company went and put it out so all is good now.

Now its my time for bed.



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a teacher at Lakeland High School, 1349 East Main Street, Shrub Oak,NY 10588

This page was last updated on Thursday, November 13, 2008 .

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