Army Spc. Jordan Ferrell has been in Iraq for so long, he's gotten hooked on a chocolate candy bar made there named VIP.
He so enjoyed the wafer-like treat, he brought a case home recently for his family to taste. Ferrell, who graduated from Moffat County High School in 2002, now repairs radios and works with computers in the Army's 82nd Division of the 325th Airborne Infantry. Ferrell said he is enjoying a two-week break at the home of his mother, Deborah Dunaway, and stepfather, Keith Dunaway, before he heads back to the Army base in Fort Bragg, N.C.
"It's nice to come home because I don't get to that often," he said. After buying a Yamaha R6 motorcycle recently, Ferrell joked that his family worries about his habit of liking fast toys.
"My family would rather have me be in Iraq because they think I'm safer," he said.
Although Ferrell often isn't prone to risky situations working with radios and computers, he has had scrapes with danger. Ferrell earned a Purple Heart for trying to help his sergeant when a grenade was launched on the platoon he was traveling in. Ferrell sustained four pieces of shrapnel in his leg and groin. His sergeant sustained 18 pieces of shrapnel in an incident that occurred in As Samawa, Iraq.
For the most part, attacks on American forces frustrate Ferrell because he cannot directly retaliate.
One of those examples is the memory of a friend that Ferrell wears on a silver bracelet. The jewelry reminds him of Sgt. Zachary Wobler, who was killed by enemy fire Feb. 6, 2005. The bracelets served as a fund-raiser to help the sergeant's family.
"It makes me mad," Ferrell said. "In my job, I can't do anything about it. It makes me very vengeful."
Ferrell's been deployed to Iraq twice, for a total of a year and four months. He has about a year to go on a four-year enlistment, but he expects he'll be deployed again in that time. His infantry unit is known to be able to deploy to anywhere in the world within 18 hours, he said.
Ferrell said he doesn't know yet what he will go to school for after getting out of the military, but he's considering getting computer-related training.
He said the job can get boring, but working with computers can make him popular. He's involved with setting up Internet connections and videoconferencing.
"People like to chat with their wives," he said. "It can get kind of emotional."
Ferrell's stepfather said he is proud of Jordan, but he also worries about him.
"To me, he's just doing his daily job," Keith Dunaway said. "He enjoys it. I pray to the Lord to keep him safe and bring him home each time. I hope this will be the last time."
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org