It’s been ten years since Miyoko Hikiji returned from her one year tour in Iraq, but the memories of her service haven’t faded a bit.
“Our unit was sent there to supplement a Florida National Guard unit that needed help with security forces,” said Hikiji, a retired soldier of the Iowa National Guard.
This woman warrior defended herself with an M-16, was stationed outside of one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces, and got to know innocent Iraqi families.
“They wanted the same things we all want. They wanted access to clean water and food, jobs, political and economic security,” said Hikiji.
Those are the stories that are easy to share.
Her mission transporting weapons, supplies, and soldiers to bring Hussein to justice didn’t come without casualties.
“My company came home without two soldiers,” Hikiji told Channel 13 News.
That’s why this retired soldier, and author of a book on her experiences as a woman in Iraq is happy to see our nation’s leaders taking a cautious approach to the recent turmoil overseas.
“Special forces advisors, bringing in air support or something to supplement or augment to give it a little bit of stability in the now is probably the right decision,” said Hikiji.
Of the more than 4,000 US troops who died in Iraq, 15 were Iowans.
Hikiji says Iowa National Guard soldiers are some of the best trained in the world but until the best way to help is identified, she hopes local soldiers stay home with their families.
“Those families have to deal with that truth forever. That’s why I worry so much,” Hikiji said.
If you are interested in reading about Hikiji’s experiences in Iraq, you can pick up her book titled “All I Could Be”.