Advertisement

Chat about the Iraq War with 1st Sgt. Joseph T. "Ted" Lawyer

October 24, 2006

This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.

Vietnam War veteran and 1st Sgt. Joseph T. "Ted" Lawyer of Lawrence, who at 59 was the oldest member of the battalion, returned last week from Iraq with the 1st Battalion, 127th Field Artillery. The 150 soldiers had been in Baghdad providing security for U.S. government officials. The battalion is headquartered in Ottawa and includes a detachment based in Lawrence.

Moderator:

Good afternoon. I'm Dennis Anderson, managing editor of the Lawrence Journal-World. I will be moderating today's chat with Army National Guard 1st Sgt. Joseph T. "Ted" Lawyer. Sgt. Lawyer, a Vietnam War veteran, and the rest of the 1st Battalion, 127th Field Artillery returned last week after a year in Iraq. At 59, Sgt. Lawyer is the oldest member of the battalion. Welcome, Sgt. Lawyer.

Ted Lawyer:

Thanks, Dennis. its good to be back in the States once more.

Moderator:

I'd like to ask the first question. What was you job in Iraq and where were you stationed?

Ted Lawyer:

I was in Baghdad in the "Green Zone". We did PSD work for the State Dept.

Moderator:

What is PSD work?

Ted Lawyer:

Personal Secuity Detail

Moderator:

Here come the questions from the readers.

labvamp:

Ted,
Just wanted to say Thank you from everyone in the LMH lab.
We are glad you made it home safe.

BigDog:

Sgt. Lawyer - First I wanna thank you for your service to our country.

Having just returned from Iraq, how well do you think what the media is reporting about the war matches up with what you saw over there?

Ted Lawyer:

You are welcome. What was reported sometimes did not match what was really going on. I think it is getting better as times goes on. The reporters are now getting out of the protected areas and getting a first hand look themselves.

SettingTheRecordStraight:

Sgt. Lawyer. Thank you for your leadership and for your service to our country. How can citizens back in the states most effectively help our men and women fighting terrorism overseas?

Ted Lawyer:

I feel people back home need to understand just exactly what is going on, not just in Iraq but the entire area. It is a complex area and more we all understand the better for everyone in the world.

dannis:

What did you miss the most, i.e. type of food, sports, movies, etc...?

Ted Lawyer:

The freedom of movement, going to out to eat, seeing friends, going to events when we felt like it. The food and living conditions were very good.

kansasmom:

How do you feel about the war in Iraq and our fight against terrorism? I know it has become a huge politcal issue this election?

Ted Lawyer:

I would rather not answer that. My job was to bring back all the soldiers with me back home safe to their families.

iluvovaltine:

How did you guys get R&R? And how was waking up at 5 am? Did the younger boys get a lesson as to why the culture has calls to prayer?

Ted Lawyer:

R & R was a good thing over there, when I servered in Nam it didn't work that well. Now they will fly the soldier to just about any location in the world at no cost to the soldier and for a full two weeks off. Waking up was not an issue, not much else to do, we worked 7 days a week with some down time now and then. Time goes faster when you are busy.

Moderator:

How would you compare Vietnam to Iraq in terms of life as a soldier?

Ted Lawyer:

Much has improved, I made $245 a month in 1968 with $65 a month combat pay. Now a soldier of the same rank will make over $3,000 a mont plus combat pay and other entitlements added on. The families are very high on the list of taking care of all soldiers, news, phones and living conditions are much, much better. The public supports the soldiers and they notice it.

dannis:

Do you feel the families here at home had a good support network?

Ted Lawyer:

Yes. The State leadership lets us know it is very important and helps the leadership in Iraq deal with any issues the soldier may be having with a lot of help from the Family Support Groups. The support was much better than i expected.

Moderator:

You have brought your wife, Gwen, with your for the online Chat. Welcome, Gwen. I have a question for you. What was the toughest thing about having Ted away from home for a year?

Ted Lawyer:

Doing every thing that he did. Like mowing and just keeping the house going. But just being alone was the toughest. Ted is my best friend and it is so good to have him back.

Moderator:

Another question for Gwen: Did you pay attention to the news about what was happening in Iraq?

Ted Lawyer:

The first thing Ted told me before he left was don't read the newspapers and don't watch the news. For the most part that's what I did. My only thoughts were just to get Ted and his guys home.

Moderator:

Back to Ted. Are you back at work? Where do you work?

Ted Lawyer:

Not yet, I am taking some time off, haven't had much family time for the last 20 months. I work at LKQ in Topeka, it is a salvage yard for cars and trucks.

Moderator:

I want to thank Ted and Gwen for joining us today.

Ted Lawyer:

You are welcome. This is the greatest country and the best place to live. Thanks.

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.