ST. LOUIS - The bomb blast rocked Camp Taji, 10 miles away from Baghdad. It was 2007.
SSgt. Mark Young felt the blast at camp. The video, and another one of an IED going off and blowing up a truck, are among the visual memories Young brought back with him from his tour of duty in Iraq. He saw the difference he made in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He got there in the middle of a civil war between Shias and Sunnis. The terrorists were the militant groups acting as protectors. But the U.S. started a campaign to engage hearts and minds.
"The people had set up their own checkpoints on the corners they were policing themselves and they told al-Qaeda they didn't want them in their neighborhoods anymore," said Young.
Soon, Young saw people standing up for peace and against the terrorists who were torturing them. The war ended in 2010.
Young said America left Iraq before the country was able to take care of itself. Young took a picture of a graffiti on a Baghdad wall that said "Long live Abu Omar Al Bagdadi." He was the leader of The al-Qaeda terrorist group Isis. The terrorists were still around, but they flew under the radar. They moved to Syria and built their army. Isis is back. Young said Iraq is headed for civil war again. Isis wants to take Baghdad and turn it into a terrorist state.
He said "this is a big deal" because Isis could control the world's oil supply, they could train more terrorists in Iraq and dispatch them around the world. Isis robbed several banks in Baghdad. They stole $450 million. It makes them possibly the richest terrorist group in the world. Young said Iraq is headed for civil war again.
"A lot of blood was shed for the progress that was made. You become resentful that progress was for nothing," he said.
He would go back to the front lines, to protect the innocent people, just trying to live their lives, from the terrorists if he could.