Army bomb specialist brings new bride for visit home
January 6, 2005
Army Sgt. Steven Waker is home on leave, and he brought someone with him. Just married Monday, Waker brought his bride, Theresa, to his Colorado home.
The 1999 Moffat County High School graduate recently returned from a six-month deployment in Baghdad and Fallujah, Iraq, and is spending a few days in Craig before visiting his wife’s family in Florida.
“It’s great to see family and be around friends,” he said. “It’s nice to know that they don’t have to worry so much anymore.”
Waker will be in town through Monday while staying at the home of his grandfather, Bob Waker, and step-grandmother, Glenda Waker, with whom he spent much time growing up. And he’s trying to enjoy the time off.
“It’s actually nice because in Iraq, you don’t get one day off. You’re always working,” he said.
“(Here) you don’t know what to do with yourself at first. You’re bored all the time. But you settle in, I guess.”
Waker is a member of the bomb squad and responds to explosives calls. He recalls checking week-old dead bodies for bombs, as he said this is a common way for Iraq insurgents to attack.
“What’s messed up is they actually attack their own people more than they do us,” he said. “They have (complete) disregard for if they hurt their own people or not.”
However, when his unit handled wounded Iraqis, Waker said they were treated with the same care as injured American soldiers.
Despite some aspects of his job overseas, Waker said he does miss being in Iraq.
“I don’t miss my friends being killed,” he said. “I do miss every day — not just once in a while — doing my job.”
“We’re just thankful he’s home safe and sound and has a nice little wife,” Glenda said. “We’re pretty proud of him.”
He recently received an Army commendation medal and has been nominated for a Marine combat actions ribbon for his work overseas.
The sergeant and his wife will return to the National Guard base in Pennsylvania, where Waker holds the same job, often teaching civilian bomb squad courses.
The couple was married in Pennsylvania but will have a ceremony in Craig in July. Waker said he wanted to get Theresa military benefits as soon as possible.
He recently re-enlisted for four years and is considering completing the 20 years necessary for retirement. If not, he’d like to join the CIA or the FBI.
“You do what you’re good at,” Bob Waker said.
“And what you enjoy doing,” his mother, Vickie Waker, said.
Waker said he already has received orders for deployment to Kuwait or Saudi Arabia in October 2006. How long he stays will depend on how many deployments he takes.
“If I wasn’t married, I would love being deployed,” he said. “I had a lot of fun.”