The Iowa National Guard’s 133rd infantry unit based in Iowa Falls was featured on last night’s CBS newsmagazine "60 Minutes." The entire hour of the program focused on the number of relatives that serve together in the unit and how its deployment to Iraq has impacted them, and family members back home. The unit’s main responsibility is to escort convoys of supplies across the most dangerous area of Iraq.
The program followed the unit from the day it deployed until recently. It found some of the members, like Josh Ites, questioned their mission in Iraq. "I just feel that we will be here a long time, and it’s going to take a lot more time than what people think back home to fix what’s going on over here," Ites says, "from what I can see, they (the Iraqis) don’t want us here."
Josh’s dad Mike also serves in the unit, and disagreed with his son. Mike Ites says, "Yeah, I believe that we’re supposed to be over here," He says, "Progress is being made. If you go back to 9-11 and what the people did there, and when the President asked, ‘Do you want me to go after these people?’, the whole United States stood up in unison and said ‘yes we do’. He says ‘This is going to be long and drawn out. Are you really sure you’re going to stand with me?’ And they said ‘yes we will.’ Well, now there are some that aren’t. Because the American people are a ‘give me’ people and ‘give it to me know.’"
C-B-S correspondent Scott Pelley jump in, saying, "You’re a little bit angry that folks at home have turned against the war." Ites responded, "Yes, you could say that." Pelley responded again saying Ites was more than a little bit angry and he responded, "As I said, I believe in what we’re doing." Pelley said.
Even though some questioned their mission, a majority of the unit members have reenlisted in the Iowa guard. The program included an interview with Jerri Nisley of Marshalltown, the wife of one of the two members of the unit to be killed by roadside bombs. Nisley says she knew immediately when the military visited her that something had happened to her 48-year-old husband, Staff Sergeant Scott Nisley.
Nisley kept telling herself over and over that she just wanted to hear that her husband had been injured, "I don’t care if he doesn’t comes home with any legs. I don’t care, just let him come home," She says, "But they said no, that he had been killed in action." The program showed Nisley meeting Scott’s body at the Des Moines airport as his casket was unloaded.
Nisley said she had to meet his body when it came home, because she’d been at all his other homecomings. Nisley said it was going to be their 25th wedding anniversary when he got home. Nisley said she hadn’t experienced any anger, just disappointment in her personal loss.
Nisley was asked what she thought about the war now, and said going and fighting is what Scott Nisley wanted to do. Twenty-year-old Specialist Kampha Sourivong of Iowa City was killed by the same roadside bomb as Nisley.