Veterans share stories at Iraq War parade in Mo.

Jan 28, 2012, 10:17 PM

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP) – Veterans who attended the nation’s first major Iraq War parade Saturday in St. Louis said they appreciated the welcome home, even though some expected to be redeployed to Afghanistan or elsewhere in the coming months. Here are a few of their stories:

___

Army Maj. Rich Radford had two long tours of duty in Iraq under almost constant threat of violence.

Radford, a combat engineer, spent 15 months on his first tour starting in January 2004, then about 10 months when he went back in September 2009. He earned the Bronze Star for his service.

“Every day we were in danger,” Radford, 40, said, “because the Iraqis didn’t like us, didn’t want us in their country. They would sell out our positions, our missions.”

Radford, a 23-year military veteran, marched in the parade with his two children, Aimee, 8, and Warren, 12. An image of the father and daughter upon his return home from the second tour of duty is emblazoned on T-shirts and posters associated with the parade, fashioned from a photo taken by Radford’s sister of Aimee, then 6, reaching up for her father’s hand as family greeting him at Lambert Airport in St. Louis.

“She grabbed my hand and said, `I missed you, Daddy,'” Radford recalled. “That’s been my Facebook page picture ever since.”

___

Air Force veteran Kevin Jackson got a nice welcome-home with Saturday’s parade, something his father never got for his service.

Don Jackson, 63, served in Vietnam. America still stings from the treatment of Vietnam veterans. There was no parade, no rally, when that conflict ended in the mid-1970s. Not that Don Jackson is complaining.

“I didn’t need a parade. I was just glad to be home. This is for them,” he said, nodding to his son and other young veterans.

Kevin Jackson, 33, is glad to be home, too. He has lost track of how many times he was sent overseas _ three or four tours of duty in Iraq, four or five in Afghanistan.

In Iraq, Jackson’s job was to teach Iraqis how to fly three C-130s planes that the U.S. donated to the Iraqi Air Force.

It wasn’t easy. First, they had to teach them English. And turnover was constant.

“They’d be there for a couple of weeks then go home on break and not come back,” Jackson said. “The bad guys would find out they were working with the Americans and threaten their families. So they wouldn’t come back.”

___

Gayla Gibson didn’t know much about improvised explosive devices before the Air Force sent her to Iraq in July 2003. She spent the next four months as part of the first line of help for soldiers wounded by IED attacks.

“We saw some horrible things,” she said. “Amputations. Broken bones. Severe burns from IEDs. It was pretty much every day.”

Gibson and other medical technicians helped mend the wounded best they could before they were moved to hospitals in Germany.

“We’d talk to them, try to comfort them,” she said. “Mostly we wanted to stabilize them.”

Gibson, 38, was thrilled that her hometown of St. Louis was the site of the first big parade to welcome home those who gave much for their country.

“I think it’s great when people come out to support those who gave their lives and put their lives on the line for this country,” Gibson said.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Abortion-rights activists chant after handcuffing themselves to the front steps of Los Angeles City...
Associated Press

EU Parliament condemns US abortion ruling, seeks safeguards

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s parliament on Thursday overwhelmingly condemned the end of constitutional protections for abortion in the United States and called for such safeguards to be enshrined in the EU’s fundamental rights charter. In a 324-155 vote with 38 abstentions, European Parliament lawmakers adopted a resolution that crystalized the anger seen in […]
6 hours ago
A hiring sign is displayed at a gas station as a customer walks past in Buffalo Grove, Ill., Thursd...
Associated Press

U.S. jobless claims rise to 235k, most in nearly six months

WASHINGTON (AP) — More Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week and while layoffs remain low, it was the fifth consecutive week that claims topped the 230,000 mark and the most in almost six months. Applications for jobless aid for the week ending July 2 rose to 235,000, up 4,000 from the previous week and […]
6 hours ago
(File Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)...
KTAR.com

3 arrested after 86 undocumented immigrants found in Phoenix

Three people were arrested last week for allegedly conspiring to smuggle nearly 90 undocumented immigrants into Phoenix for profit, authorities said. 
6 hours ago
Associated Press

UK warship seizes advanced Iranian missiles bound for Yemen

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — A British Royal Navy vessel seized a sophisticated shipment of Iranian missiles in the Gulf of Oman earlier this year, officials said Thursday, pointing to the interdiction as proof of Tehran’s support for Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the embattled country. The British government statement was striking in that it […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian gestures during a press conference at the ...
Associated Press

China lashes out at US, British intelligence services

BEIJING (AP) — The United States is “the biggest threat to world peace, stability and development,” China said Thursday, continuing its sharp rhetoric in response to U.S. accusations of Chinese spying and threats to the international order. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian’s comments came a day after the head of the FBI and the leader […]
6 hours ago
FILE - Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks with reporters following a closed-door ...
Associated Press

Dems want to tax high earners to protect Medicare solvency

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats want to boost taxes on some high earners and use the money to extend the solvency of Medicare, the latest step in the party’s election-year attempt to craft a scaled-back version of the economic package that collapsed last year, Democratic aides told The Associated Press. Democrats expect to submit legislative […]
6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Arizona Division of Problem Gambling

Arizona Division of Problem Gambling provides exclusion solution for young sports bettors

Sports betting in Arizona opened a new world to young adults, one where putting down money on games was as easy as sending a text message.
Veterans share stories at Iraq War parade in Mo.