many soldiers, same letter

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    http://www.theolympian.com/home/news/20031011/frontpage/121390_Printer.shtml

    WASHINGTON -- Letters from hometown soldiers describing their successes rebuilding Iraq have been appearing in newspapers across the country as U.S. public opinion on the mission sours.
    And all the letters are the same.

    A Gannett News Service search found identical letters from different soldiers with the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, also known as "The Rock," in 11 newspapers, including Snohomish, Wash.

    The Olympian received two identical letters signed by different hometown soldiers: Spc. Joshua Ackler and Spc. Alex Marois, who is now a sergeant. The paper declined to run either because of a policy not to publish form letters.

    The five-paragraph letter talks about the soldiers' efforts to re-establish police and fire departments, and build water and sewer plants in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, where the unit is based.

    "The quality of life and security for the citizens has been largely restored, and we are a large part of why that has happened," the letter reads.

    It describes people waving at passing troops and children running up to shake their hands and say thank you.

    It's not clear who wrote the letter or organized sending it to soldiers' hometown papers.

    Six soldiers reached by GNS directly or through their families said they agreed with the letter's thrust. But none of the soldiers said he wrote it, and one said he didn't even sign it.

    Marois, 23, told his family he signed the letter, said Moya Marois, his stepmother. But she said he was puzzled why it was sent to the newspaper in Olympia. He attended high school in Olympia but no longer considers the city home, she said. Moya Marois and Alex's father, Les, now live near Kooskia, Idaho.

    A seventh soldier didn't know about the letter until his father congratulated him for getting it published in the local newspaper in Beckley, W.Va.

 
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