‘I gained more patriotism,’ says Westside soldier, back from Iraq

       After a year in Iraq, Sgt. Timothy Gibson enjoys the chance to relax in his living room with his wife, Kelly, and daughter, 
Hannah. After nearly a year in Iraq, Sgt. Timothy Gibson came home to the Midland neighborhood of the Westside a couple of weeks ago. He's glad to be back, but not sorry he went.
       The nine-year Army veteran, age 29, even re-enlisted before his return.
       “Honestly, I like what I do, I like my job, I like my friends and how it provides for my family,” he said. “Wherever they (the military) want me to go, I'm willing to go. That's my job.”
       His wife, Kelly, and 5-year-old daughter, Hannah, were pleased to see Dad again. He'd only been allowed one visit stateside during his year in the war zone.
       The day of his return he was due to arrive at Fort Carson at 5 a.m. “So of course we went there an hour and a half early,” Kelly recalled. “So did a lot of the other families. That was the longest hour and a half of my life. But he's here now, and that's all that matters.”
       Gibson works as a cook with the 43rd Engineers, which is part of the 2nd Squadron of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment. Because of his job, he didn't get involved in any fighting or get out as much among the civilians.
        However, he was there long enough to meet a number of people and develop a certainty about the American mission in Iraq. “I gained more patriotism from spending a year over there,” he said. “Part of it is knowing they'll get the freedom they've never had.”
       Of the Iraqi people, Gibson said, “A lot of them are happy. They've been down for so long… They don't know what freedom is. They had a dictator for so many years.”
       Talking to Iraqis, he said, was “like a time capsule being opened.” They've had little contact with Western culture, but the American presence has meant the introduction of such inventions as satellite TV. As an example, Gibson said, the only American entertainment celebrities the Iraqis seemed to know were either from the distant past, like Gary Cooper, or the present, like Britney Spears.
       Compared with other tours he's had, including Bosnia and Third World countries, Iraq was “a little rougher,” Gibson said.
       He counts himself “pretty lucky” in his time over there. “Travel was the dangerous part,” he said.
        His unit moved around to different locations. In the cities, he said, “you had to be more vigilant.”
        While he was gone, his daughter started school at Midland Elementary. He was sorry he missed that, but praises his wife for taking care of things in his absence. “She handles everything,” he said. “She's real strong.”
        He stayed in touch with his family by e-mail and phone. “The first six months, phones were around but harder to get to,” Gibson said. “Now it's getting more regular.”
       His latest enlistment will keep him at Fort Carson at least another two years.

Westside Pioneer article