120th Quartermaster Detachment Transitions to Home Life after Iraq Duty

 

Written by Sgt. Joseph Porritt

Published May 8, 2007

 

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From Left: SPC David Bingham, SSG David Churchtown, SGT Joseph Porritt, SFC Carlyle Smith, SGT Jakob Bradford, pose for the camera in Iraq.

Photo courtesy of Utah National Guard

From Left: Spc.David Bingham, Staff Sgt. David Churchtown, Sgt. Joseph Porritt, Sgt. First Carlyle Smith, SGT Jakob Bradford, pose for the camera in Iraq.

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — Transitioning into civilian life after redeployment is something every Soldier has to go through. The Springville-based 120th Quartermaster Detachment (Water Purification) recently drilled together for the first time since returning from serving in Iraq for 15 months.

 

After four months of transitioning back to home life they had some words of wisdom about the process to share. Most members of the 120th expressed a relative ease back into civilian life.

 

“I just came back and was like, ‘Okay now what?’” said Spc. Carrie Weatherspoon.

 

“I’ve enjoyed doing the things you want to do and being able to go where you want to go,” said Spc. Tyler Decapot.

 

These two Soldiers, as well as several other members of the 120th, came home and continued to work for the National Guard in a technician position, on ADSW (Active Duty for Special Work) orders, or as an AGR (Active Guard/Reserve). Other soldiers left the military alone for four months and rejoined their civilian jobs or started school.

 

“[Being home], it’s just like life; like regular life,” said Spc. Bill Hyde.

 

But not all the transitions have been effortless.

 

“It’s been tough getting back into the hang of working and trying to get situated. Kind of like if you were to move in general from one place to another,” explained Hyde.

 

“A lot of the transition has been with kids. It may be quite a while before they come to you and actually have trust in you again,” pointed out Spc. David Bingham, father of two young girls.

 

Bingham also explained that there have been adjustments with his wife too.

 

“She’s used to things this way and then I come in and try to take control,” he added.

 

Spc. Carrie Weatherspoon and her husband, Staff Sgt. Shawn Weatherspoon, served together with the 120th.

 

Members of the 120th QM Det. pause in their training at Ft. Bliss to pose for the camera.

Photo courtesy of Utah National Guard

Members of the 120th QM Det. pause in their training at Ft. Bliss to pose for the camera.

“I’m glad I got to get deployed with [my husband],” said Carrie. “I feel like I could tell my husband, ‘Now you can go get deployed by yourself because now I know what to expect when you come home.’”

 

Many Soldiers who were not deployed with their spouse fear that their spouses don’t know what they went through.

 

“I don’t have any idea of what she’s been through either,” said Bingham.

 

“Really, it’s kind of like being newlyweds again,” said Sgt Joseph Porritt. “You get to rediscover each other again. But the key is to talk to each other.”  

 

Other members of the 120th  had their own advice about helping the transition go more smoothly. The Weatherspoons traveled when they got home.

 

 “We spent like a week just driving around, getting used to the roads…and then we took off to Oregon,” explained Spc. Weatherspoon.

 

“Once I got back home I jumped back in to going to drill every month with the other units,” said Hyde.

 

Bingham advises Soldiers to take it slowly. He says his greatest help has been “just doing things with family, trying to find things to do that are enjoyable and spend time with each other.”

 

Decapot agrees.

 

“My greatest help has been the ones who supported me while I was over there,” he said. “The whole family has been real close with me. We hang out, barbecue, whatever. So it’s been really good.”

 

With the support of their families and friends, the 120th is making a successful transition.

 

At their first drill back, the reunion had a warm spirit of celebration and fellowship that can only come from serving together in a combat zone.

 

“It’s great to see everybody back, hanging out with old pals and reminiscing about good times that we had out there,” said Hyde.

 

From left: SGT Joseph Porritt, SGT Jakob Bradford, SGT Jacob Black

Photo courtesy of Utah National Guard

From left: SGT Joseph Porritt, SGT Jakob Bradford, SGT Jacob Black