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Adam Deal is home from a tour in Iraq

Adam Deal is flanked by his mother, Vickie, and father, Gary, at a homecoming reception at Camp Douglas Jan. 5 when his National Guard unit returned from action in Iraq. Deal's group was the first of 32,000 Wisconsin troops deployed to return home. Submitted photo1 / 2
Adam Deal stands on a bridge that spans Iraq's border with Turkey during his tour of duty with the Army National Guard. Turkey is behind him. Photo submitted2 / 2

Adam Deal wanted to be in the Army almost as long as he can remember. Now, back from his first overseas deployment to Iraq, the interest hasn't waned.

"I always wanted to be in the military since I was seven or eight-years-old," he said during a recent conversation in his comfortable Hudson home. The Army was always his first choice.

He arrived earlier this month from a tour of active duty with the Army National Guard in Iraq where the E-4 Specialist had a unique job. He was part of a personal security detail that drove civilian members of the Department of Defense around the area in Northern Iraq. His unit was stationed in Mosul.

"We drove civilian model cars and wore civilian clothes to blend in," Deal said, but he couldn't be any more specific about the type of cars because it is restricted information while similar units are serving the same details in Iraq.

"There were 10 of us and we must have done 250 missions and drove about 41,000 kilometers (almost 25,500 miles)," he said.

Deal said his unit wasn't always able to evade trouble while escorting the civilian officials around. "We narrowly missed an explosion once and got near artillery and mortar fire, but we were very lucky," said the 21-year-old, 2006 Hudson High School graduate.

Deal got called to active duty last February which caused him to take a leave of absence from UW-Whitewater where he is a history major and a contracted cadet in the ROTC program. He joined the National Guard in 2007 as a private.

He said his unit is A Troop, 1st Squad, 105th Calvary which is part of the 32nd Brigade out of Fort Atkinson.

Upon deployment, his first stop was at Fort Bliss, Texas, In April he was transferred to a base in Virginia for special training, then flew by commercial jet to Kuwait. The unit then was ordered to Mosul.

On Dec. 29, Deal's unit got orders to fly back to Kuwait and home. The tour of active duty was over. They arrived at Camp Douglas on Jan. 5 to a big homecoming by family and friends.

"Out of 3,000 National Guard troops in Wisconsin sent to active duty, we were the first to come back," Deal said.

The experience of Iraq left him with some lasting impressions.

"It's really different," Deal said. "It's a whole different lifestyle from what we know."

The ravages of war have left buildings in rubble and there doesn't seem to be much desire to rebuild them, he said.

Deal experienced 120-degree temperatures and sandstorms and said he would rather be in a snow storm than a sandstorm given his druthers.

He will return college next fall. In the meantime he will seek a job in the Hudson area and maybe do some traveling.

Deal has two years of college left and upon graduation will earn a commission as a second lieutenant. A career in the Army isn't out of the question, he said.

There are some perks related to his Army service. His higher education is paid for. "I don't have to worry about paying back those college loans like some people," He said.

Deal said with hazardous duty pay and other extras he knocked down about $3,000 a month as an E-4 serving on active duty in Iraq.