Cindy in Iraq is Cynthia Morgan's hair-raising yet jubilant chronicle of her perilous year in war-torn Iraq as a truck driver — the most dangerous civilian job in the war zone.
In the summer of 2003, a friend in the National Guard stationed in Iraq wrote to Morgan about KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary that was hiring drivers. Morgan was from a family with a long military history; her oldest son was in the National Guard at the time. Wanting to do her part for her country and struggling financially after leaving her abusive third husband, Cindy decided she was "tired of surviving her life and not living it."
She left everything and everyone behind and set out for Kuwait and Iraq to be a truck driver for KBR. She felt Iraq would give her the opportunity she needed to make some changes in her life. Her three sons, then ages 18, 16, and 15, along with the rest of her family, supported her decision, but made her promise that she would always tell them the truth about what she was going through as a driver in Iraq. Drawn in part from the emails she posted home and the journals she kept, Cindy in Iraq re-creates in vivid detail how Morgan overcame the stigma of being one of the rare female truck drivers and quickly rose through the ranks to become a convoy commander. She led her fellow Reefer Cowboys — "reefer" is short for "refrigerated truck" — in convoys that delivered necessary goods to soldiers stationed in such notorious hot spots as Baghdad Airport, Camp Anaconda — a place as dangerous as its name — and Fallujah. A moving target for insurgents and with virtually no training, and unarmed as well, she faced being ambushed and shot at, all while learning how to navigate Iraq's difficult terrain. As the insurgency heated up, contractors were in more and more peril, increasingly kidnapped and executed. By the time Cindy's year in Iraq was up, she had shrapnel in her arm. She also discovered that there are times when the enemy can be someone you know.
Cindy's journey to Iraq was also a voyage of self-discovery: "I knew that I would find out who I am and what I am made of here…. Honor, integrity, pride, and humanity can all be discovered. I know that I still am a very passionate person when it comes to the things I believe in…. I am still me, but more…. So my story of being over here is not just one of a female truck driver driving in a war zone in Iraq. It is a story of me finding the world, and of me finding me."
Cindy's is an eyewitness account of war that few journalists can offer: The grateful Iraqi children, the hardworking U.S. soldiers, and the personal stories of soldiers and civilians alike thrown together in a war unlike any other.
By MICHAEL S. DARNELL | STARS AND STRIPES
Published: June 5, 2019
Cindy Waldron has done a little bit of everything, it seems. She has taken big rigs up and down America’s highways. She has delivered much-needed supplies to troops in Iraq, braving gunfire and improvised explosive device attacks along the way. She’s a proud mother of a U.S. soldier and author of the 2006 book “Cindy in Iraq: A Civilian’s Year in the War Zone,” which chronicles her experiences.
She’s also a survivor – of firefights, of abusive relationships and of a sexual assault while deployed. Through it all, she not only persevered, but flourished, becoming one of the few women driving supply convoys through Baghdad in its bloodiest years.
Waldron talked with Stars and Stripes about her experiences in Iraq, in a raw, unfiltered look back at a singularly unique career. She goes over it all, from happy family moments, to dealing with PTSD, to finding peace after coming home from war.
Along the way Waldron gives advice to abuse survivors, talks about her support of U.S. troops and paints a picture of Iraq in its most war-torn days. This is one episode of Force for Hire that you won’t want to miss.
Cynthia I. Morgan drove a big rig across the U.S. for twelve years before venturing on a one-year contract in 2003 with KBR in Iraq, where she became a civilian convoy commander in charge of up to thirty trucks delivering supplies to American bases throughout the war-torn country. After seven months back in the U.S., she returned to Kuwait and Iraq to keep driving for IAP and then PWC. She came home for good in May 2006.
In November 2008, Cindy took a tumble off a loaded flatbed and suffered a devastating injury that shattered her nose and both of her wrists. After several surgeries, multiple doctors and 3 years of recovery, Cindy found that her truck driving career was over. With heavy restrictions on the use of her hands and wrists Cindy was not left with many options for a new career.
With a powerful love for the road and refusing to sit back and do nothing, Cindy started her own pilot car business in the summer of 2011 in Mississippi. Cindy now lives in Arkansas, runs her growing business, rides her Harley when she can and is enjoying being close to her 5 grandchildren.
Cindy's support of our troops did not stop when she came home from Iraq. She joined the Patriot Guard Riders while still in Kuwait in 2005. After shattering her wrists Cindy served as the Help on the Homefront assistant coordinator for a 1 1/2 years then as the coordinator for another year. She attended several PGR missions for homecomings, send offs, as well as KIAs. This photo was taken at the Chris Kyle memorial service at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas, TX.
We love hearing from the readers. Please drop us a line and let us know what you thought of the book and Cindy's experiences.
Digital and hard cover copies can be found on Amazon, eBay and the other usual sites.
Shhh...we also hope that there will be a movie in production in the next year or so.