Through television and media, there are always stories told about soldiers, but we never truly hear the real side. Master at Arms Military Policeman, Mitch Ellicott, husband to HHS math teacher, Linda Ellicott and father to freshmen Maggie, shared his thoughts and experiences from his tour in Afghanistan to Global Mosaic classes. The 80 minute private presentation occurred in Mrs. Lisa Kenny and Mr. Jeffrey Ryder’s Global Mosaic class on Thursday, October 24th.
The tragic events of September 11, 2001, caused Mr. Ellicott to lose a loved one, thus motivating him to re-enlist although he was overage. With the assistance of Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, he re-enlisted with the Navy. Mr. Ellicott’s last deployment to Afghanistan lasted 6 months, ending on Friday, October 18.
According to Ellicott, he keeps a piece from the fallen towers with him. He pointed out that whenever he has a bad day, it reminds him of how fortunate he is to still be alive. Ellicott told the class: “We (the soldiers) are not fighting the Afghanistan people. We are fighting the Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.” According to Ellicott, “The Afghanistan people want the American soldiers there. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are harming the Afghanistan people.” The soldiers are not fighting al- Qaeda and the Taliban for them; they are fighting with them. “They want to be free, like us,” Ellicott later said.
Ellicott pointed out that in order to build a relationship with the Afghans, soldiers study their language, their religion, and the people themselves which later they are tested on it. “We are there to help the Afghanistan people win their independence like the French helped us during our own Revolutionary War,” he said.
Mrs. Kenny and Mr. Ryder asked Mr. Ellicott to speak to his Global Mosaic class, so that the students could experience the war through a primary source. According to Ryder, this was not an opportunity they could ignore. “We weren’t going to give up the chance to get him into class,” Ryder added.