February 8, 2005
Ft. Stewart-- All of us certainly appreciate what these citizen soldiers are doing. They're serving their country.
But that's not exactly true for all of them. We met a couple of young men who are proud to serve our country even though it's not officially theirs. And that's not their only connection.
In their National Guard fatigues, they look like any other soldiers. But take a listen to Spc. Pavel Rybakov-- "We've been here for five years, a little bit over five years."
That's not a Georgia accent. "I ended up in Dexter, Georgia." Little Dexter, direct from Moscow, Russia. They came here as teenagers with their mother. Yep. And his brother is here. Pavel and Dmitri Rybakov are brothers. Not only that, they're in the same platoon.
"It's a little tough," says Spc. Dmitri Rybakov. "It's tough on my family, my mother because both me and my brother are going there."
Their mother may worry twice as much, but these brothers are glad they'll be serving side by side in Iraq. Pavel says,"Psychologically, it's a big relief that I have somebody I really know very well, and it helps a lot and it's a pretty good way to relax."
The Rybakovs joined the National Guard to help pay for college. Dmitri just earned a degree from Middle Georgia College. Pavel did the same and recently enrolled at Georgia Tech. Pavel said, "I'm majoring in computer engineering. It was my first semester there, but I guess I can take a little break and go to Iraq for a little bit."
It's a disruption to be sure, but these brothers know this training is important. "I believe everything's going to turn out to be all right and we'll all come back home safe," says Dimitri.
And Dmitri and Pavel believe they'll come back home safe after fighting for a good cause. "I think we're going to do a good job over there, and hopefully we'll help out a lot of people and help out the country a lot," said Dmitri.
They hope to help bring the same democracy to Iraq that they'll soon take full advantage of here. "From the day one of our activation we are able to file for citizenship and we're going to do it as soon we're gonna get some free time," said Pavel.
So you'll be an official American? "Yes sir," Pavel says.
Official Americans serving our country as proud new citizen soldiers.
posted at 3:55PM by firstname.lastname@example.org