Just Doing Our Job

About Just Doing Our Job. . . Real Stories From Iraq

“Just Doing Our Job. . ." are more than just words to Sgt. Jim VanHatten, Cpt. Thomas Bessler, and Cpt. Joel Morgan. Those words were their way of life for a year and a half in Iraq.

Our son, Sgt. VanHatten, served with the 1st Armored Division, U.S. Army. This human interest story is an account of that time spent in Iraq. Sgt. VanHatten and Cpt. Bessler were all gracious enough to answer my many questions.

They were stationed in Baumholder, Germany prior to going to Bagdad and I wondered how the transition was for them. For the first twelve months they were in the Green Zone, living in a guest house of a royal palace. Of course, they weren’t there as guests.

For the second deployment of five months, they were in the worst possible desert area. Nothing good could possibly come out of that situation. Yet, they made it. They did not come out unscathed, however.

As a mother, I had questions and concerns. Those questions and concerns didn’t stop once he was back in the States. In visiting with him and some of his fellow soldiers, I asked many questions. This short book is the result of some of the questions I asked.They are human interest questions…not military. They are things you may or may not have read about in any account of the war. They are soldier stories.

Many things come through loud and clear, over and over again–they are proud of the work they accomplished in a hostile environment, they understand what it is to pay the ultimate price for freedom, and they all have a “whatever it takes" attitude to get the job done.

I’m proud of all who served, especially these men.

From the dedication page:

This is dedicated to our son’s commander and good friend, CPT Robert C. Scheetz, Jr.

I didn’t know CPT Robert C. Scheetz, Jr. personally. I have heard about his “whatever it takes" attitude from those that served with him and for him at Iskandaryia, NorthBabil Province, Baghdad and in Germany.

CPT Thomas Bessler tells me that during times of conflict or war a “warrior attitude" is expected from the Intel Soldiers. And, he tells me that Rob gave his life for his country because he was an Intel Warrior doing the hard job until he died.

SGT Jim VanHatten, our son, says CPT Scheetz was “the best of the best".

Both tell me they were proud to know him and to fight with him.

This is what I learned from talking with men who knew CPT Scheetz.

While serving as BN (Battalion) Intelligence Officer, CPT Scheetz managed the execution of multiple complex and simultaneous tasks during continuous combat operations in Iraq from April 2004 to May 2004. His S2 shop (Intelligence) transformed into a flexible and agile Intel section that provided unprecedented intelligence support to counter-insurgency operations in Baghdad and North Babil, Iraq.

CPT Scheetz’s team was directly responsible for the capture, tactical interrogation, and exploitation of over 300 guerilla fighters and insurgent leaders. CPT Scheetz literally made Intelligence Corps history by establishing and overseeing two indigenous intelligence networks who’s responsive and penetrating collection efforts captured national-level enemy cells, insurgent financiers and operators, Militia fighters, weapon suppliers, and CENTCOM Black list members.

CPT Scheetz was investigating a recent rocket attack on his base camp in North Babil Province of Iraq when he was wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). He later died Memorial Day, 31 May 2004 from his injuries sustained.

His competence, dedication to duty, and superior analytical skills were responsible for the source vetting that later identified dozens of IED makers in North Babil, Iraq.

The Task Force’s successes were only due to his “what ever it takes" attitude and tireless efforts in support of combat operations. “Always Out Front!" the MI (Military Intelligence) Corps motto says it all.

I can only say these men will always hold a special place in their hearts for CPT Scheetz. You can see it in their eyes.