Your paper's recent coverage of Lt. Col. Duane Stanton and his year-long tour in Iraq is yet another positive reminder that honorable work is being done in this war-torn country ("Astoria officer describes dangers and rewards of his tour in Iraq," The Daily Astorian, Jan. 7).

Lt. Col. Stanton is likewise a productive contributor to our quality of life and public safety here on the north coast.

It was a privilege to visit on several occasions at the U.S. embassy with Lt. Col. Stanton when, in the latter part of his tour, he was transferred to Baghdad to serve in the critical position of U.S. Chief of Staff to the Iraqi Minister of the Interior. Few understand the magnitude of this appointment and the deftness of professional acumen, diplomatic skills and insight required of the individual selected to fill it.

In this position of authority and influence, Lt. Col. Stanton faced daily rocket and car bomb attacks conducted against the Green and Red Zones in Baghdad as he carried out his duties. It was my observation that he did so with the level and caliber of professional composure and concern for his peers, friends, Iraqi counterparts and coalition subordinates one naturally expects from an Oregon State Patrol veteran such as Stanton.

It was a most unusual setting and array of circumstances that allowed us, as fellow Astorians and Oregon law enforcement professionals, to meet in Baghdad. Lt. Col. Stanton is a treasured asset as both an OSP officer and serving member of our armed forces.

Thank you for presenting his story. It is an inspiration as well as a much needed endorsement of what serving in uniform is all about, whether here at home or in hostile circumstances overseas.

Greg Walker



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