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James speaks with Huxford students

By by James Crawford
Special to The Advance
SPC Ryan James returned to Atmore on April 23 to visit family and to talk with Gail Walley's fourth grade class at Huxford, who had adopted James when he left in September to fight terrorists in Afghanistan. The meeting was the first time the children had actually met James in person, although they had corresponded with him through mail since he left.
James is currently stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. where he is awaiting his next set of orders. James is currently ranked as a specialist. His main job title is that of forward observer where he is responsible for either joining an advancing group of soldiers or going out in advance of a group to scout for possible targets that need to be cleared.
James handed out dog tags to each of the students with their names stamped on them and brought money from Afghanistan and Iran to show the students, explaining to them "its worth less than a penny here," said James who recanted that solders often exchanged dollar bills for handfuls of cash from citizens eager to trade.
The students asked question about where he slept, what he did on his off time and what he ate, how dangerous it was and they were eager to hear of war stories. James obliged them by recanting his experiences and what it felt like to be a soldier in the Middle East.