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"Write soon! Write soon! Write soon!" (Letter to his mother, 9/11/1999).

   Christopher Ryan Linton
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War: Persian Gulf War Era, 1990-2001
Branch: Army
Unit: Bravo Company, 2nd Squad, 3rd Platoon, 3rd Infantry, 3rd Brigade
Service Location: Georgia; Kuwait; Iraq
Rank: Private First Class
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While the experience of basic training is sometimes overshadowed by stories of combat, “basic” can be as overwhelming and intense as what comes after it. Private First Class Christopher Ryan Linton enlisted in the Army soon after his high school graduation, and began basic training in the fall of 1999. The letters in his collection document the roller coaster of experiences he endured in basic: the rigors of physical training and the profound homesickness he felt, the inspiration he drew from his family, and his ebullience at learning his permanent duty station would be close to home, at Fort Benning, Georgia. His oral history interview fills in what happened after he left basic: following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he deployed to the Middle East in January 2002, and spent a year stationed at Camp Philadelphia, near the Iraq and Kuwait border.

Interview (Audio)
»Interview Highlights  (6 clips)
»Complete Interview 
Download: audio (31 min.)
 Personal Correspondence
»View List (10 items)
More like this
»“Please Write Often”: Wartime Correspondence
 Audio (Interview Excerpts) (6 items)
Entering the service after high school graduation; adjusting to boot camp; stubbornly refusing to give up; dealing with being away from his family for the first time. (03:26) Atmosphere post-9/11; build up to deployment; deployment to Camp Philadelphia near border of Iraq and Kuwait. (02:32) Flying into Qatar; surreal quality to conditions; didn’t see direct combat; did take fire during patrols; seeing a little boy throw a grenade at his patrol. (02:22)
Seeing Iraqi refugees fleeing from Saddam Hussein’s regime; recognizing their humanity and circumstances; taking that into consideration during patrols. (02:47) Relying on paper mail; no access to email or phone calls; mail took a month to exchange; receiving care packages; missing small comforts of home; importance of mail call. (02:38) Arriving back in the United States; emotional reunion with family; adjusting to civilian life; feeling bitter and angry. (03:25)
  
 Personal Correspondence (10 items)
Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [9/11/1999] Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [9/14/1999] Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [9/20/1999]
Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [9/24/1999] Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [9/28/1999] Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [10/21/1999]
Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [10/28/1999] Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [11/1/1999] Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [11/9/1999]
Letter to his mother from Christopher Ryan Linton [12/6/1999]  
  
 

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  The Library of Congress  >> American Folklife Center
  October 26, 2011
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