After watching news story after news story about Iraq, Prescott High School students got a taste of the real thing this past Friday.
Stan Goligoski, a captain in the 101st Airborne Division and a specialist in military intelligence, talked about the history behind Iraq to a group of history students at PHS. Stan's brother, Mark Goligoski is a U.S./Arizona government teacher at the school.
Stan received a Bronze Star three levels below the Congressional Medal of Honor for his work as military intelligence in Iraq.
"We ran 87 missions where we were responsible for the killing or capturing of 235 insurgents," he said.
Part of the information and surveillance Stan provided led to the capture of Albo Gatta, as well as one of the military's biggest public successes, the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
"It's an adrenaline rush," Stan said about raiding an insurgent home. "You don't know what's going to happen. Your training just kicks in. It's very methodical."
He said the magnitude of the raid and the reality of the deaths sink in afterward. "You talk a lot to your buddies because those are the guys you lean on to talk through what happened," he said.
Mark said he believed having his brother come and speak to his students and students of advanced placement world history teacher Shelley Bunch gave them an unbiased perspective of what's happening in Iraq. Because his brother is military intelligence, has served for 14 years, and received his undergraduate degree in military history, he has a profound understanding of the conflict in and geography of the area.
"What we see in the news, in my opinion, is not exactly what's going on over there," Mark said.
Stan showed a map of Iraq to the classes and spoke about the terrain and the history of the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds. He explained the religious conflicts and which groups comprise the largest population in Iraq.
He also talked about the incredible threat of improvised explosive devices. IEDs kill 90 percent of all soldiers who die in Iraq.
"I thought (Stan's presentation) was both informative and straight to the point," said 18-year-old Matteo Musumeci.
Musumeci said he didn't perceive bias in Stan's lesson. If anything, Stan helped reinforce his understanding of the situation, he said.
"What you see in the news is just a glimpse of (the war)," said Daneke Kanarian, a 15-year-old sophomore.
"It's nice to hear from the soldier's view who's actually there . . . He put us there."
In addition, Daneke said she never realized how much hidden intelligence goes into a war.
Chloe Curry, 15, admitted she had a hard time listening to Stan speak so bluntly about people stepping on bombs and dying. However, it made her realize the reality of the situation. She appreciates the other perspective, and said Stan's presentation was informative.
"It seems like they're all living in the same place, and they're so divided," Chloe said. "I just want everyone (the American troops) to come home."
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