Word From Iraq: Law Student Lohrer E-Mails Home

Published: August 25th, 2003

Category: Feature, News

Think it’s hot here? Army Reserve Sgt. Edward Lohrer (2L, right) — a UF law student still serving in Iraq — is withstanding temperatures of 130 to 140 degrees at mid-day. The 27-year-old has been in Iraq since February, and a few weeks ago the thermometer hit a record 151 degrees at his headquarters at Talil Airbase. “Some of the sand storms here would give Hurricane Andrew a run for his money, and the insects like to bite,” Lohrer e-mailed early this week to fellow law student Deb Cupples. “It seems much more violent and chaotic here now than when the war kicked off,” he wrote. “There are trucks loaded with explosives blowing up buildings and checkpoints. Ambushes and sniper attacks on supply convoys. Mortar attacks on U.S. encampments. All this happens on a daily basis.”Ed works at a supply route security checkpoint, where he stops suspicious vehicles, redirects civilian traffic and gathers information on military convoys. He also has escorted convoys from Talil to Baghdad, a 13-hour ride through desert heat in a Humvee — the bare-bones military issue and a far cry from the plush, street-ready model popularized by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Like many military people in Iraq, Lohrer often is a wide-open target. “They don’t know who the enemy is or where he’ll show up,” said his mother, Charlotte Lohrer of Lake Placid. “This scares me.” In April, news coverage of the U.S. invasion of Iraq was pervasive. After President Bush declared an end to major military activity, it began drifting out of the public’s mind. “People need to realize U.S. soldiers are still dying over here, as many as three a day,” Lohrer pointed out. “This war is far from over, but many soldiers feel forgotten. There are still 150,000 of us here, and many have no idea when we can come home.” Constant danger aside, he has found his service to be the experience of a lifetime. “I interact with locals, so I’m picking up Arabic and learning about the culture. I’ve seen the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and Saddam’s palaces. I’ve been all over Baghdad and seen ancient and biblical landmarks, including the City of Ur, which was built 6000 B.C.,” he explained. When Lohrer left Gainesville in February, he was three weeks into his fourth semester of law school. So far, he has missed two of the program’s six required semesters and may miss a third. Also left behind was his part time job at the Gainesville law firm of Fisher & Butts. “It looks like I’ll be here for the long haul,” Lohrer concluded. “I’m glad to serve my country, but I also look forward to coming home and resuming my life.”

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