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Utah Soldiers Says Zarqawi's Death is a Morale Booster for Troops

Utah Soldiers Says Zarqawi's Death is a Morale Booster for Troops


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Samantha Hayes and Jon Dunn reportingWhat will Zarqawi's death do to the morale of servicemen and women, fighting terrorism?

Some Utah troops leave tomorrow on a trip that will eventually get them into the fray.

Command Sergeant Major Joseph Spencer says he hears positive news through emails of other soldiers frequently. But this- he says- is a more tangible sign of progress.

Sometimes progress is measured in baby steps: A school for Iraqi children opens, a road is rebuilt.. But it's the major stuff that soldiers heading to the Middle East like to hear.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Spencer, First Corps Artillery: "I think its proof we are accomplishing the mission."

Command Sergeant Major Joseph Spencer will be leaving his family for a year long assignment in Afghanistan. He believes the death of Al-Zarqawi is a morale booster for all U.S forces in the region.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Spencer, First Corps Artillery: I consider him one of the lead commanders so imagine if the enemy was to get one of our lead commanders and the impact that would be. This is square one for coalition forces."

The Utah National Guard I (first) Corps Artillery will be assisting Afghan soldiers.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Spencer, First Corps Artillery: "What we're doing is basically teaching doctrine, tactics, and helping them plan and operate according to how we do business."

Spencer's unit is experienced; many soldiers have served more than one mission for the war on terror.

Command Sgt. Maj. Joseph Spencer, First Corps Artillery: "Me personally I've had a lot of confidence to begin with. I've had great training and I'm deploying with the greatest soldiers we've ever had."

One victory at a time, he says, and hopefully the efforts of all these soldiers will bring a final and lasting reason to celebrate.

Former Special Operations Sgt. First Class Layne Morris says Al-Zarqawi's death will mean a lot for troop morale. He says the way forces got to him is nothing short of amazing.

"You really want multiple confirmations of who it is and where they are going to be, and that's difficult to get when you're trying to get intelligence from two different angles that all point to the same thing," Morris says.

Morris says he hopse insurgents can now realize that winning is not an option for them. He calls Al-Zarqawi's death a victory.

"It's a huge deal to get this guy. If there's one person on this earth that needed to be dead, it was this guy," Morris says.

100 soldiers of The First Corps Artillery leave tomorrow morning for training in Mississippi and the onto Afghanistan in August.

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