Iraq War Veteran Reflects on Mission 20 Years Later
On the 20th anniversary this month of the Iraq War, veteran Jeremy Malchow reflected on his mission. Malchow joined the military during the summer between his junior and senior years at Osseo High School.
“I wasn’t getting into college so I went to basic training,” recalled Malchow.
Three decades later, Malchow is still an Army reservist. During the Iraq War, he spent parts of five years in and around Baghdad leading military convoys.
“Our job was to provide convoy security and we would move people on ground or as a security detail to move important people and we were very fortunate we didn’t have to return fire and we were very good at finding IEDs before they detonated,” said Malchow.
Malchow says Iraq was “99.9 percent sheer boredom,” but as a staff sergeant he had to make sure his soldiers were dialed in for that last hundredth of a percent. He said connecting with Iraqis was crucial for safely moving people and materials through a war zone.
“I have a firm belief there was a person sitting on the side of the road waiting to make a call and if you anger the local populace that person’s going to make a call and you’re going to have a bad day,” says Malchow.
Criticism about the Iraq War was rekindled with the 20-year anniversary of the start of war, which was March 20, 2003. Malchow believes he did his job well and that many American soldiers made a positive impact. Still, as a 30-year military man, Malchow acknowledges there’s a divide between those in power and the soldiers on the ground.
“I didn’t serve with any senator’s children or congressperson’s children, the president’s kids weren’t there. I’m not saying using our military forces is wrong but I think the folks that are going to profit greatly should be on the other side, it should be fair and it’s generally not.”
Malchow estimates he led about 150 convoys during his time in Iraq. He says none was attacked or had to return fire.