Sometimes, especially for those without family members or friends in the service, it is all too easy to view the Iraq War in terms of numbers. Both pro-war and anti-war forces seem to make it all about the math "there have been more than 3,000 U.S. troops killed" or "we need an additional 20,000 to 30,000 troops," etc.
But the war isn't a game of Risk. Faceless numbers don't tell the horrific, and at the same time, heroic stories, like those of Staff Sgt. Jason P. Trumpower, of Norwalk, who helped lead his men to safety after being attacked by insurgents.
Trumpower's vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED), disabling it and critically wounding the driver. Trumpower, a section leader, was pinned in the vehicle, but he maintained security and notified headquarters of the situation. Another vehicle responded to the call for aid and, as they began evacuating crew members, it too was disabled by an IED, wounding five inside.
The explosion knocked out communications and caused a fire in the rear compartment. The rear ramp and the troop door both were jammed. Trumpower, with severe wounds to his hands and face, tried to open the cargo hatch. With another soldier's help, the two men were able to open it wide enough to evacuate the vehicle.
Trumpower received the Bronze Star for his efforts. But, as he put it: "I would rather not have the award and not have those things happen."
Those aren't the stories we see and hear about in the news. And for every miraculous escape, there are often stories that, unfortunately, do not have a happy ending.
The war can, and does, touch every one of us. If you have any doubt of that, simply look at Lilly Nutter, of Warren, Ind. The 94-year-old had been sending packages to her grandson and a few others in Iraq but wanted to do more. She met John Lichoff, of Norwalk, and long-story short, she began sending care packages to the 945th Combat Engineer Battalion of the Ohio National Guard out of Norwalk.
So, as the debate in Congress rages about troop levels and spending on the war, remember people like Jason Trumpower and Lilly Nutter because the war is about more than just numbers to them.