A soldier’s view

Posted: Monday, January 22, 2007




Editors note: Periodically the Clarion will print biographies and notes from peninsula soldiers stationed in northern Kuwait with the 3rd Battalion, Alaska Army National Guard. Staff Sgt. Mac Metcalfe, public affairs non-commissioned officer with the battalion, conducts the interviews.

Name: Sgt. Paul Grimsley 3rd Battalion, 297th Infantry, Alaska Army National Guard

Home town: Kenai

Family: “I married Pearl in 1990. We have three children, Christina, 15, Saul, 13, and Karl, 11. We are adopting Karyn, who is 10. My wife and I have worked with the state as an emergency placement home for troubled children for five years and as a foster home for about three. I’ve always liked children. A lot of times we get kids that just grab your heart with what is going on in their home life.

“There are times when I would come home and there are kids — neighbor kids, my kids, foster kids — running around the house and my wife would say, ‘You need to settle down, your dad just got home from work and he’s tired.’ and I say just let them play. To me, seeing a kid play, having fun is one of the greatest things in the world. To see them oppressed really hurts.”

Job title: “When I joined the Guard I selected radio communications as my military specialty. Electronics was something that I’ve been interested in since I was a kid. Communications was a good choice because I ended up the distinguished honor graduate for my class of 86 soldiers. As a civilian I am employed at High Speed Gear in Kenai. For the battalion, I help maintain our computer network. “

History: “My family has a military background. My father was a boxer in the Navy and my step dad was a career Army (non-commissioned officer). My military career began with one of those spur-of-the-moment decisions, ‘Oh, why not try this,’ and I joined the Alaska Army National Guard at age 30 in 1998. I was looking for something new, something different.”

Deployment: “My first indication that we were being deployed came around October 2005 when I was told we would be going to Djibouti near Ethiopia on the Horn of Africa. We ended up in Kuwait. We left Alaska in early July 2006 and spent three months training in Mississippi.

“Leaving Alaska was pretty emotional. Knowing that we were saying goodbye for a while, that was difficult for all of us. But I need to say that I feel it is an honor to serve my country.

“We’ve been gone six months now and hopefully we will return sometime in October. I chat on the Internet with my family almost daily. The kids are doing well in school. They are getting As and Bs and not getting in trouble. There is a lot of support from home, my neighbors, my church and the community.

“My wife and I have a strong relationship so the deployment has not been an overburdening problem. I mean there is obviously a strain because I am not home. but other than that we have a very good relationship. In June, we will have been married 17 years.”

Homecoming: “When I return the first thing will be a camping trip. The kids said a camping trip so it’s a camping trip. My oldest boy is setting that up so we will see what happens when we get there. We are also looking at picking up some property near a lake outside of Kenai where we can build our own house.”

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