AN Security

Meet Jim Wade

In camp stryker stables, combat photographer, Iraq war on March 27, 2010 at 5:46 pm

UPDATE: Many people serve our country in equally diverse ways but don’t have to and Jim has certainly earned that calm safe life back home. His deployment and embed with the Marines in Afghanistan came to a close and he’s back in Florida hopefully enjoying some time off. Gunny shared today that Jim was selected to document the closure of Camp Stryker. The home of the Stables will shut down and merge into obscurity at some point this year as troops demobilize and head home or Afghanistan. The camp has been witness to a lot of history and great people but all things must end. It will be a great honor to assist in the last months of operations as our presence here adapts to changing policies and times.

Base closures in a war zone can be very challenging. We’ll see what the gods of destiny bring us.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Just a quick post to catch up on this week’s goings on (more positive than health care guy in my other post).

Gunny Sizemore insisted that I stop by sometime during the day by the stables to meet a certain gentleman who was passing through Stryker before heading to Afghanistan. Gunny mentioned that I would like the guy, a retired Navy man and Vietnam veteran embedded with our troops as a combat photographer. I sipped my coffee more to help my mind not drift away from the class we were there to attend that morning but promised him that I would make the effort to visit him. I don’t turn down an invitation from Gunny mainly because the people he meets on the job are sometimes just too amazing not for one to be curious. I’ve known of many a retired soldier or wounded Marine to leave home and deploy once more to fight in the war. This is what great warriors do and they have my deepest respect however, I find it amusing that every person he describes to me is an impressive, sometimes rather menacing guy who’s been through hell and makes people stand back when they enter a room. He talks about tough men who inspire many others and I have to believe him. The hard part is hoping I don’t piss someone off as I’m not the most pleasant person to know.

Around 0800 C. and I returned to the office and grabbed my mug, got a coffee refill and headed out taking advantage of things being quiet but Gunny said he had not spotted his guest and figured he was still asleep. I would return later on if he called me on the radio and promised him to come back.

When I got the call he asked me to come in the office and he gave me a background on this person and showed me a picture. At least the picture matched the description; the guy did look like a tough old guy. I figured anyone who fought in Vietnam could be enjoying life elsewhere but those who choose to come here or Afghanistan to document the war seem to me never stopped their service. About half an hour later, Mr. Wade walks up to the office window, says hello and starts off to use the phone because he was waiting for word about his travel. I just leaned on the counter, waiting for the introductions; I wasn’t going to come out and say anything. The complaint that the post office people refused to mail his package was based on the fact that the postal service here is set up for military and US contractors and even when he showed his passport and other papers (as he is an embed) he was refused service so he came back lugging a small box and placed it on the counter. He would have to handle that matter later; the phone call was more important. What was even funnier was the man didn’t even miss a beat or noticed me at all. I just smiled. I like grumpy people.

Gunny managed to get him calmed down enough to convince him that the package would be taken care of and he did. A call to his assistant and managed the issue while waiting for the call Gunny insisted Mr. Wade comes back into the office and he turned to me and made the introductions. The handshake was nothing to write home about; his look was more like why-am-I-meeting-you than anything else. I made sure to tell Mr. Wade that I was actually there to meet him at Gunny’s insistence and mentioned my Navy service. I’m not going to go ad-naseum about the discussions that made Mr. Wade take a liking to me but we all had a decent laugh. He was more relaxed then and wanted to stick around. One thing that happened to Mr. Wade was the IED attack he survived in 2008  during one of his last patrols before rolling off his assignment. My short visit turned into a much longer deal with management showing up and meeting with Mr. Wade and the party grew once two young soldiers who work the Liaison desk who asked who the man was and after Gunny explained what he does they stuck around. Mr. Wade showed us several of his videos and at some point his call came through and he stepped out and told us that he would be heading out in the morning then took a seat and continued to talk about the videos without missing a beat. After the videos (and I had planned to take pictures anyway) we all posed with him as much as I hate being in pictures I didn’t mind. He’s an American doing more than documenting what goes on in the war; he is doing what many of us would like to do and return to service in some other way. Mr. Wade was very thankful to management of how he was treated at the Stables – which I guarantee is the same treatment everyone else receives – was the important thing about our visit making his stay before his march into the unknown are more pleasant experience.

Mr. Wade is en route to Afghanistan and I’ll keep track of him and his adventures.  Look forward to hearing from your deployment, Jim.

Jim’s embed history

Co-founder of Veterans against union busters

2/30 Infantry “WILD BOARS” BATTLE OF THE TRAFFIC CIRCLE 3.30.08

1/6 Infantry JSS UR & JSS Sadir City Iraq 2008

1-35 Armor Regiment FOB CASHE Iraq 2008

5-1 CAV Bravo Troop, Charlie Troop TIMMIAGE AMBUSH 1.7.08, Iraq

82nd Airborne, 82nd BST  FOB HAMMER, CASH, JSS SALLI, Iraq 2009

1-158th Infantry Afghanistan 2009

1-77 A.R., Camp Adder, COB SOTO, JSS UR 2009

4-2 Inf. Alpha Troop JSS AL Amir Iraq 2009

1ST CAV 3-227 Bravo, Fox Troop JSS Taji, Iraq 2009

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