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AL QA'IM, Iraq (July 16, 2005)- Lance Cpl. Benjamin D. Hallstrom, 22, a team leader with 2nd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team-2 writes in his notebook. The Clearwater, Fla., native wants to write a book about his experiences during Operation Iraqi Freedom III. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

Kilo, 3/2 Marine tells story letter by letter

18 Jul 2005 | Lance Cpl. Lucian Friel

“Everybody has a story; I just want this one told right,” said Lance Cpl. Benjamin D. Hallstrom, a 22-year-old team leader with 2nd Platoon, Company K, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiments. The Clearwater, Fla., native was inspired at the beginning of his deployment to Iraq to write a book about his experiences as an infantryman in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom. “I love to read, and I was reading a book about a hitchhiker who traveled across America and wrote of his travels. I decided that it would be a good idea to write about life out here,” explained the 2001 Clearwater High School graduate. Hallstrom participates in missions within the Al Anbar Province on a daily basis and said he has little time to start writing his book now, but has found a way to keep his memories fresh for when he returns home. “I’ve been writing letters home to my friends and sending them pictures as well. I usually talk about what happened during a mission or just what life is like at the time,” he explained. According to Hallstrom, though he has no writing experience, he plans to take college courses to help him through the writing process. The main purpose behind Hallstrom’s book is to inform the American public about what OIF was like on the ground. He hopes that by doing this he can portray the bigger picture of why U.S. Forces are in Iraq. “I want people who agree with us being here to have more fuel for the fire; people who don’t to understand what it was like here, and everyone to understand that not all Iraqis are bad people and they want and need our help,” Hallstrom said. After being in Iraqi for more than five months, Hallstrom explains that he has seen progress in his battalion’s area of operation and he wants to convey that in his writing. “I don’t think that people at home see the progress we’re making on television. They don’t always hear the stories of the people who were there the whole time witnessing the progress and being a part of it,” he said. Hallstrom decided to be a part of history and the Marine Corps. He wanted adventure and according to him, in two years he has had “the adventure of a lifetime,” serving with the joint task for in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and a deployment to Iraq. “I love to travel. I love being out here seeing the desert and the culture of different people. Being in the Corps you see things that you wouldn’t get the chance to see any where else,” he explained. When Hallstrom returns home he wants to compile the letters he wrote of the things he saw and begin his goal of telling the Marine story. “I want to remember exactly how I felt out here to tell the story better,” he said. The young rifleman explained that even if he’s not able to write his book, that he will at least be able to tell his story to his children and family when he gets older. “Whenever I feel emotional about something out here, I write and send it to my friends,” he continued. “Being in combat, they say, you feel every emotion, and believe me, that’s very true. I’ve been the happiest I’ve ever been and the saddest. I’ve been angrier and calmer than I’ve ever been before, and I want to convey that through my writing, even if only one person ever reads it.”