MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Thousands of U.S. troops are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of them say it is hard being away from home during the holidays, but at the same time, they consider it an honor to serve our country.
Members with the 1165th Military Police Company Alabama are stationed at Camp Eggers in Kabul. Specialist Raonna Moore is part of that unit. FOX10 News spoke with her Thursday over the phone and asked how she's coping being so far away from home.
"I think about [my family] everyday. Their prayers and thoughts are always with me. I can feel it when they are thinking about me", Spc. Moore explained.
Spc. Moore is a graduate of Robertsdale High School. She attended Bishop State Community College and played on the basketball team but eventually grew bored over the summers and decided to join the military.
"It's a pretty big deal. I'm glad to be following in my mother and my father's footsteps. They defended our country and have been deployed to different places ... My father was actually deployed in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and now that I'm deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, it's kind of amazing."
Spc. Moore works with Afghan National Police, mentoring them to improve security in Kabul. She also serves as her team's dismount or scout and identifies vehicle threat indicators. Her duty is to identify possible vehicle born improvised explosive devices, conduct vehicle searches and demonstrate to Afghan Police how to set up their own traffic safety points.
She said being a 21-year-old woman in the military has its challenges, but the rewards are worth it.
"A lot of them are surprised to see a female soldier, especially of my stature, to work as proficiently as I do as my male counterparts," she said.
"Just to know that what I do could possibly change history for my children or my grandchildren to not have to fight in this war, to help combat terrorism now instead of having to wait until later when things get worse, that's what keeps me going, keeps me motivated - to know that I could possibly be helping to change history right now," Moore explained.
Being part of something so big and knowing that she is making a difference is what Moore says she's most thankful for. When asked how she would celebrate Thanksgiving this year, Spc. Moore said, "Hopefully, if the mission allows, I'll be enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner here and maybe get a Skype call with my family while they are sitting around the table."
The U.S. plans to withdraw the remaining troops from Iraq by the end of the year, so for many American troops, this will be their last Thanksgiving celebration in that country. The pullout concludes a mission which started in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq.
Currently in Afghanistan, the U.S led coalition has more than 130,000 troops in Afghanistan. About 93,000 are from the United States. It's expected that all foreign combat troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
"To all my family back home, I just want y'all to know that I love you, I think about you everyday. Just continue to keep me lifted up in prayer, and I should be home to see y'all soon."
Spc. Moore was recently featured in an article by DVIDS. Here 's a link to that story.
Rain chances increase tonight, followed by much colder weather for Saturday...
Officials said new hotels may be coming to Foley in the near future and will help the progress of the city's planned multi-use facility as well as the Blue Collar Country entertainment complex.
According to Davidson County authorities, bar owner Christopher Michael Ferrell surrendered himself a short time ago on a Davidson County Grand Jury indictment, charging him with second-degree murder for the November 23 shooting death of …
A long-awaited study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a link between tainted tap water at a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina and increased risk of serious birth defects and childhood cancers.
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — The student newspapers at Auburn University and the University of Alabama are both backtracking on things they published after the Iron Bowl.
Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn and Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel spoke Friday, Dec. 6 in Atlanta to preview the SEC Championship game.