KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Soldiers with the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment have seen the best and worst of Iraq since their arrival last month.
The National Guard unit that is based in Knoxville was deployed more than a month ago for its second tour of duty in Iraq.
Capt. Arthur Richards, a unit commander with the 278th, gave 6 News a progress report Thursday via an Internet video phone system called Skype.
Q: What was your journey like from Camp Shelby to Iraq?
A: It was a very long journey. It's hard to keep up with time when you're moving across that many time zones, but we flew from Camp Shelby to Bangor, Maine and then to Shannon, Ireland. We had stops to refuel the plane and clean it and then we flew into Kuwait City.
Q: Your unit is the protective services detail. How is your mission going so far?
A: It's a great mission. We are providing protective services details for the special representative, the secretary general and the UN ambassador to the United Nations Assistance Mission here in Iraq.
Q: I understand that you were serving as security on the streets during the elections. What was that like?
A: That was pretty intense. There was some violence. We moved the special representative, the secretary general around to some polling sites and provided security for him while he completed his diplomatic mission. We were able to execute it without any type of incident. The Iraqi security forces are certainly well trained and are providing good security on the streets.
Q: How have you been received by the locals?
A: The locals have been great and they were great when we were here before. They were always friendly, but we have a lot of contact with the public on the street and they are very receptive to us being here. It's their country and we're here just to help them establish their security and get their government going and then we're going be out of here. This is definitely their country and they are very friendly people.
Q: Well thank you for speaking with us today, Capt. Richards. We will be in touch soon.
A: Great, thanks. Thanks for the interview and thanks for telling our story.
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