Thursday, July 05, 2007

You Know What It's Time For?

A little Major General Rick Lynch, the Princess' favorite Army guy. He's over there, commanding the 3rd ID, working the surge.

Hamilton native commands multinational division in Iraq
By Joshua Rinaldi
Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
"Everyday, I can look in the mirror and feel like I'm doing something important," Lynch said in a phone interview from Baghdad on Thursday.

Three months into his unit's deployment, Lynch said his days start at 5:30 a.m. and can go as late as 10 p.m. He exercises for two hours a day to keep himself physically fit.

"It's 111 degrees with 60 pounds of body armor. You've got to be in good shape to do that," Lynch said.

Lynch has previously served in Operation Desert Storm and spent a year in Kosovo. He was promoted to major general in January 2005 and assumed command of the 3rd Infantry Division the following January.

The division includes soldiers from across the country and coalition forces from Ukraine, Kazakhstan and El Salvador. Lynch said he relies on the battalion commanders, who speak fluent English, and translators for communication.

"We have the same language challenge in Iraq. We deal with Iraqis all the time. We have to speak their language," Lynch said.

Despite being a general, Lynch said he doesn't get many special privileges to make the next year in Iraq more comfortable. He gets a two-week leave to visit family at some point during his 15-month deployment, the same as every other soldier. He does make sure to call his wife daily and his parents weekly.

"Every Sunday," said his dad Calvin Lynch of Hamilton. "He never misses a Sunday."

The elder Lynch also spent time in the Army. However, he said he was drafted in and didn't have the zeal for it that his son does.

Lynch puts it another way: "He was the world's worst soldier and was very proud of that fact."

Calvin Lynch said he and his wife do worry about their son, but they know he's well protected.

Earlier in the campaign, Lynch served as a press liaison when working for General George Casey, who was the commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq until February. Consequently, he spent a lot of time in front of cameras.

Lynch believes that the people back in the United States should know about operations in Iraq.

However, he's concerned that the national media doesn't adequately cover the good progress the U.S. forces are making.

"For every bad thing that happens over here, there's hundreds of good stories that never get told," he said.

Still, Lynch knows the darker side of war. He said his division has lost 60 people since it has been deployed. Generally, if the unit loses a soldier, Lynch is notified within 30 minutes of their death. Each soldier lost receives a memorial service, which Lynch is sure to attend.

"Everybody's crying. I'm crying. We're mourning the loss of our fallen comrade," he said.

Lynch expects to return stateside in June of 2008. He'll likely give up his command of the Third Division because commands traditionally last for about two years.

However, retirement is not on Lynch's mind as he just expects to move on to his next assignment.

For those of you who are like me and can't get enough of MG Rick Lynch, NPR's Morning Edition had him on the other day..................I got to listen in bed!

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