Here is my ghetto podcast of Shurd. I never really did this before so it is very half assed. But the part where Shurd talks is cool, because he is good at talking. Here is the full article on Shurd http://www.sfbg.com/entry.php?entry_id=3580
To see Shurd talking during this interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5XfugRTxrk
by Caleb “Shooter” Schaber
Northern Nevada News Wire
TALLIL, Iraq—For nine months, Staff Sgt. Aaron Castro lived at a remote base with the Iraqi Army near Iran. May is his first chance to come home to visit his family.
Unlike the regular Army, who recently had deployments extended from 12 to 15 months, the National Guard soldiers spend 14 or 15 months deployed already with the training they receive before they arrive in Iraq.
Castro spent two months at Fort Bliss in Texas before arriving in Iraq.
“I miss my friends and family,” said Castro. “And tequila.”
US soldiers are not allowed to drink in Iraq, although British, Romanian and Georgian soldiers are.
This is the second tour of Iraq for Castro with the Nevada National Guard. He was deployed in 2004-05 and worked with the 518 Gun Truck Company. His current job has him teaching the Iraqi Army what he learned from his experiences working in a gun truck unit previously in Iraq.
“I train an Iraqi motor company on convoy operations and convoy tactics,” he said. “I work in the 2nd MTR Military Transition Team (MiTT) based out of al Numaniyah.”
In the previous article, Castro was training the Iraqi Army to head out on convoys.
There is no graduation for Castro's students, he said. “Graduation is going out on the road in a convoy.”
Now, Iraqi's are running convoys.
When the Iraqi soldiers go out on a convoy operation, Castro and other members of the Nevada National Guard follow along as advisers.
“We shadow them,” Castro said. The Iraqis are in charge, but if they need help, they radio to Castro's MiTT Team.
Recently in North Baghdad the convoy was hit by a bomb and received small arms fire.
“I laid down some oppressive fire and neutralized some insurgents,” Castro said.
Castro describes his actions in a fire fight as going on “autopilot. He said he makes sure he has identified the enemy, then he “lites them up.”
Working with the Iraqi Army has given Castro a new respect for the Iraqi people. He said the “liberal media makes every Muslim out to be a possible terrorists,” but in his experience, this is not true. The soldiers he works with risk their lives and their families lives to fight insurgents in the Iraq.
Often, after a day of training, Castro said that he visits his Iraqi soldiers and interpretors.
“We start out with juice or water,” he said. “Then they make chai.
Topics of discussion include family, politics and God.
“In the true Muslim faith, they do not believe in killing Christians or Jews,” Castro said. “All worship the God of Abraham.”
Castro said he is learning the Arabic language and customs, slowly.
The Iraqi Army soldiers can quit their jobs any time, unlike US soldiers. This can be a problem, Castro said. Once a soldier is trained there is no guarantee that he will be around to serve Iraq.
This year marks over 18 years of service in the military for Castro. He serves in Iraq with his brother, Sgt. Tracy Castro from Elko.
When not deployed, Castro also volunteers for the Department of Public Works (DPW) at the Burning Man event as the resident flamethrower technician. He said he will miss Burning Man second time in ten years, as he did on his previous deployment.
“Working with DPW in the past has gotten me prepared for this mission,” Castro said. “Being at Numaniyah and working on a Mitt Team means we don't have all the fancy accommodation's of the US Forward Operating Bases (FOB).”
This time in Iraq, Castro lives among 8000 Iraqi soldiers, although the Guard has allotted them a cook so that they do not have to exist on Iraqi food.
“If things break down, we are totally self reliant,” said Castro.
Iraq reminds Castro a lot of Nevada—it is desert.
“The only thing is they wont let me chase Iraqis with my flamethrower,” he joked.
Overall, Castro said that he enjoys the work he does in Iraq, and prefers being a teacher over “worrying about the jackasses that are trying to kill us.”