Killing Bugs In Iraq Makes You Appreciate America - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/29/06 - Nacogdoches

Killing Bugs In Iraq Makes You Appreciate America

by Donna McCollum 

Carra Liles kills bugs.   She exterminates East Texas fleas and termites, but prior to that she was in Iraq where she served as a private subcontractor. Her enemy was much different. "There's domino beetle. There's camel spider, sand flies, some things we didn't determine what they were," said Liles of the bugs she killed. Liles also handled animal control. Like the bugs the feral animals carry deadly diseases. Liles said, 'We not talking about Fluffy like we have over here. We had a one puppy in Afghanistan that infected 70 something people with rabies."

For Liles pest control was a patriotic gesture. On Memorial Day she took time out to say thanks to the troops. "Today I would like to thank all of our troops, all of our veterans from all the foreign wars for saving our country and everything you've done for us. I thank my kids too." All of which are in different branches of the military, plus she has a husband about to retire from Ft. Hood.   "I didn't have a problem spraying tents for soldiers to keep them from getting bit. I looked at it like it could be my kids," who recalled how different it was to be "a girl working in Iraq".

Despite working in harsh elements (sometimes the temperatures would reach 140 degrees) the job created lifetime memories. She has a picture of herself in Saddam's palace at Babylon, Iraq. The job taught her to trust her fears.  Liles points to a picture with black smoke bellowing in the background. "I had decided to pull out. Got out of my vehicle and boom. They hit it. That's the bomb." The job taught her to appreciate the smaller things in life. "You really learn to appreciate being an American when you go to a Third World country, go into a war zone, you learn less is more. Simple life is not so bad after all."

Liles is back home in Nacogdoches where she's starting a pest control business. She says she only left Iraq in order to be with her family. When the time is right she says she may return.

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