Returned Soldier on Iraq Experience

Sgt. Mitzi Cooper
Sgt. Mitzi Cooper

Today is the 1,000th day of the war in Iraq. As politicians debate how or when troops should leave, the Third Infantry's time there is winding down. We talked today with one of the Marne soldiers who returned home over the weekend.

A career soldier and a mother of four, Sgt. Mitzi Cooper says today's landmark doesn't register on a soldier's radar screen. Their focus is one day at a time.

When the men and women of the 512th Quartermaster Company broke formation Saturday morning, soldiers reunited with their families. Sgt. Cooper didn't see her sons until Monday.

"I drove up to Atlanta to surprise them and they surprised me," she told us. "I thought they'd be at school and they ran out of the house to me."

A Desert Storm vet, she says the average soldier doesn't realize today is the 1,000th day of American military presence in Iraq. "You don't think about stuff like that. You focus on your job, do what you have to do and look forward to going home. Over there, every day is a Monday."

She says the Marne soldiers still in Iraq look forward, with a little caution, to their return as well.

She'll spend a few weeks of block leave with her sons, but then she and others will go back to duty. The majority of the Third Infantry is expected to start coming home early next year.

Cooper says soldiers listen to some of the pullout debate going on in Washington, but they try not to obsess over it or let it distract them from the job they must do until they come home.

Reported by: Dal Cannady,