Family man volunteers for 2nd tour in Iraq
Army Cpl. Justin Smith will leave a wife and two young sons next month for a second tour of Iraq, a mission for which he volunteered.
Smith, a 25-year-old Central High School graduate, will head for Ramadi, where he will be assigned to base defense, a post for which he volunteered.
For Smith, the assignment is partly about career advancement and partly about completing a job to which he already devoted a year of his life.
“I’m happy I can be there and help make a difference,” Smith said, sitting in the front room of his Mesa County home.
His first assignment to Iraq was in Balad, where his job was to track units as they headed to their destinations. It was when they failed to report that he stepped in, calling in support for them.
“There were a few incidents,” he said. “It’s been pretty safe.”
He still remembers, though, that first mortar attack. “The first one really puts you up on your toes,” he said.
His hope is that his assignment to Ramadi proves less eventful, a desire with which his wife, Wynter, 23, concurred.
Even from the other side of the world, Smith stays in communication with Wynter and their two sons, Isaac, 3, and Levi, 1. He sends them e-mail and instant messages, talks to them by phone and sees the boys on a webcam.
Comforting as that contact is, Wynter Smith said, there always is a question in the air. “I have that phone glued to me until I hear from him,” she said.
Smith’s 15-day leave let him see Levi take his first steps, not via webcam, but while sitting in his living room.
Smith, whose grandfather served in World War II and whose two uncles served in Vietnam, just signed up for a second six-year contract with the Colorado National Guard.
He joined originally out of a desire to serve in the military and earn money for a college education.
So far, he’s been able to attend college for about a year, and Smith is now thinking the Army could be his career. He’ll leave that decision, though, for the end of the contract.
More immediately, he said, he looks at his service in Iraq as just a job.
“You get up, you go to work, and when you get off, you relax,” he said. “By the time it’s all over, it’ll seem like it went by pretty quickly.”