How come only 45 days.....

Returning National Guard vet remembers Iraq

Friday, November 24, 2006, 12:01 AM

As thousands of Wisconsin's military men and women spend this Thanksgiving overseas, a returning vet remembers what it was like.

In some ways Liz O'Herrin was lucky. As a member of the Wisconsin Air National Guard's 115th Air Fighter Wing, she only had to spend 45 days in Iraq, not a year.

Forty-five days listening to constant gunfire and having the base mortared every day.

Staff Sgt. O'Herrin, now a UW-Madison student, worked in munitions at a base in Balad, Iraq. Being one of the few women there, she had to endure constant stares and the increased threats of sexual assaults and rapes reported on the base. Something, she says, that really got her mad. Not only did she have to worry about insurgent attacks, she had to beware of her own guys on the base.

There were some spirit lifting moments. Like the smile from an injured 7 year old Iraqi boy in the hospital who had just received a gift from the soldiers from Wisconsin.

45 days may have seemed like a year. What did Sgt. O'Herrin want to do when she returned home? Eat brats, drink some beer and watch TV with her parents. And that's just what she did

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