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Examiner
  • Veteran Salute: Christopher Bacon

  • Veteran Salute: Christopher Bacon, Persian Gulf War-Operation Iraqi Freedom

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  • Veteran Salute: Christopher Bacon, Persian Gulf War-Operation Iraqi Freedom
    Army
    2006-2009
    Persian Gulf War-Operation Iraqi Freedom
    THE DECISION
    Christopher Bacon’s grandfather, who passed away in May, served in World War II in the European Theatre and then became a teacher after his military service. When Christopher was a young boy, his grandfather told him stories about his service time. Christopher feels proud that he is following in his grandfather’s footsteps.
    Christopher was born in Michigan and joined the Army directly out of high school. He trained to become a radio and Ttelephone operator while at Fort Sill Army Base. Orders came over the radio and he would relay the information.
    TRAINING
    He knew while he was at Fort Sill that he would be deployed to Iraq. They soon began ramping up their training maneuvers that were very intense in anticipation of deployment to Iraq. They were trained how to set up traffic control points, how to set up road blocks, how to search people, how to identify IEDs, and how to properly call for med-evacuations.
    Christopher and his unit were a little apprehensive about going to Iraq because the area where they were going was called “The Triangle of Death.” Christopher was married when he joined the military, but he did not tell his family the name of the area where they were going so they would not worry. Lisa, Christopher’s wife, went to live with Christopher’s mother during his deployment.
    Christopher’s unit flew to Iraq loaded with their gear on – M-14 rifles and full body armor. Most of the other gear they would need was shipped ahead of time. The flight took 23 hours with a stopover in Ireland. They landed in Kuwait where they spent three weeks doing more intense training exercises. When training was completed they boarded a Chinook helicopter and were taken into Iraq. Their living quarters were large tents that housed up to 30-40 troops in each tent. The heat was indescribable, even at midnight the temperature seemed to be as hot as it was all day long.
    IRAQ ACTION
    Christopher’s primary job was a radio operator. That meant any time any of their troops were outside what they called “the wire” (anywhere outside of the base) radio contact with them was crucial at all times. Christopher’s unit worked closely with the Iraqi Army to train them how to do some of the same tasks the U.S. unit was doing. Their unit did not work with the Iraqi police at all because they could not trust them. Iraqi police were arrested by Christopher’s unit because they were implicated in IED attacks against local political figures.
    Page 2 of 2 - Because of his response to rocket attacks made on their base, Christopher received the Combat Action Badge and the Army Commendation Badge. Fortunately, no one was injured seriously.
    Christopher says the mortars and rockets were definitely the scariest thing while in Iraq, and he will never forget those sounds. He feels proud that his unit helped build schools in Iraq and also helped get electricity up and running despite the very poor standards for electricity. There were groups that tried to hijack electricity by hooking their own generators up to someone’s home and then charge outrageous prices for the stolen electricity. Their unit also assisted with shutting that operation down.
    BACK HOME
    Christopher had a young daughter, and while he was in Iraq took some leave time, but going back to Iraq and leaving her and his wife was very difficult.
    Nov. 7, 2009, Christopher left the military and used the GI Bill to attend UMKC to pursue his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction. He already had his teaching certificate and is now searching for a full-time teaching position. Christopher also is in the Army Reserves and just left the 418th Civil Affairs unit to continue searching for a job.
    Peggy Sowders, who is on staff for the city of Independence, compiles interviews with veterans from the entire area at the Truman Memorial Building. Contact her at psowders@indep.mo or 816-325-7979 if you are interested in helping a veteran tell his or her story.
     
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