Back from Iraq
Moffat County graduate returns to 'normal' life
Marine Corps Cpl. David Wade is checking items off his to-do list.
After arriving home earlier this week from his post in Alkut, Iraq, the 1997 Moffat County High School graduate is busy catching up on the important things in life — like washing and waxing his new, white Camaro.
“I spent three hours on it this morning,” he said grinning.
Wade signed on with the Marines immediately out of high school, serving until 2001 as a mechanic working with motor transportation. In February 2002 the Marine re-enlisted because, ” I missed the organization.”
“I liked it,” he said of his second term and his time securing communications for American troops in Iraq. “It’s the most fun I’ve had in my career. You don’t worry about the phone bill when you have an M-16 over your shoulder. You have other things to worry about.”
In his role establishing secure satellite communications, Wade said he didn’t witness much on-the-ground fighting. He did however, experience the late March air strikes over Baghdad, even though his convoy was stationed 150 miles to the south.
“I woke up to the sound of bombs,” he said.
According to Wade, the military cannot station troops in the same location for more than 400 days of a two-year term. Wade, like other troops, was close to that cut-off period.
He plans on taking a 30-day leave before returning to Camp Pendleton near San Diego, Calif., and will complete his second term by 2006.
Soon Wade hopes to go to school to learn about new technologies in satellite communications. But he’s unsure whether he’ll soon get shipped off again.
Recent talk from higher ups indicate that re-deployment may come swiftly, he said.
While at home in Craig, Wade is enjoying two nephews he hasn’t laid eyes on since they were born.
“Now they’re walking and talking,” he exclaimed. “They have no idea who their Uncle Dave is.”
After his return date from Iraq was consistently pushed back, Wade is happy enough now to have made it home in time for his birthday, less than two weeks away.
“Our plans got shut down and we missed Christmas and Thanksgiving,” he said. While missing the holidays was a letdown for many of the troops, Wade adopted the mindset to “just deal with it.”
“Everybody’s been here for a while,” he rationalized. “Join the club.”
Most shocking to Wade was the warm manner in which Iraqis treated him. Wade recalled fondly trading dollars for dinars and returned with an elaborate collection of coins and medals, many bearing the image of Saddam Hussein.
But caught up in the excitement of collecting his own medals, Wade wouldn’t mind being re-deployed.
He hasn’t found out yet if he’s up to receive a combat action ribbon and a ribbon for the global war on terrorism to further decorate his jacket. Even if Wade doesn’t receive the ribbons awarded to troops fighting in the “hot zones,” he wants to jump back in the game.
“I’ve been told the rotation will be rapid,” he said, smiling. “I can’t wait. I want to see more ribbons on my chest.”
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or email@example.com.
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