An Iowan recently returned from Iraq says he saw no sign of the abuses at a prison there that have caused an uproar over the U.S. occupation. Eric Dolash served as a medic, but says he didn’t know what area he wanted to go into when he first talked to a recruiter in his hometown of Sigourney.He’d thought about everything including chaplain’s assistant, but the recruiter recommended the medic program as offering more adventure, telling him because it’s a good experience and they get good quarters to stay in wherever they go. Dolash says his first assignment in Iraq was in very nice quarters. They were in Saddam Hussein’s former palace in Mosul, doing “sick call” care for the 101st Airborne and whatever emergency medical care was needed, so he says it was a mix of paramedic and nursing care. Then his unit spent time doing medical care at the Abu Ghraib prison where American soldiers were holding five to six-thousand Iraqi prisoners.Dolash says they took care of the soldiers, but during his time working at the prison they also cared for Iraqi detainees there as well as Iraqi citizens who worked for the coalition forces. The unit stayed in an old warehouse, not a very comfortable place, he says. Dolash has had a lot of people since he got back ask about the photos of prisoners at the prison that have sparked embarrassment and outrage over their treatment. He says the 109th left that task in October and the alleged abuses apparently happened after he’d left. Eric says it’s odd for him to see the photos taken in familiar cellblocks where he’d worked, but as far as “that stuff that nobody wanted to see,” he’s glad to say he wasn’t there when any of that happened. Dolash was a specialist E-4 with the 109th Medical Battalion out of Iowa City. Dolash is taking classes at Hawkeye Community College in Waverly to finish up a business degree and then may go into the Army’s physican-assistant program.
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