View Full Version : Marine returns from duty in Iraq

05-07-07, 07:35 AM
Marine returns from duty in Iraq
By Kenneth Todd Ruiz, Staff Writer
Pasadena Star-News
Article Launched:05/06/2007 12:03:56 AM PDT

PASADENA - Maria and Conrado Carvajal have three good reasons to pay attention to the war in Iraq.

Their names are Conrad, Albert and David.

The Marine Corps has become a daily part of the Pasadena family's lives now that all three of their children serve in the military.

On Saturday, the family's home on Lola Avenue celebrated the recent return of Staff Sgt. Albert Carvajal from his second deployment in Iraq, where he kept trucks, Humvees and other vehicles running as part of the 4th Recon Battalion of the Marine Reserve's 4th Division.

"I feel very proud of them, but sometimes, I'm a little stressed," said Maria Carvajal, 59.

Albert, 33, enlisted soon after graduating from Pasadena High School. He followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Gunnery Sgt. Conrad Carvajal, 36, who served in the first Gulf War.

Conrad now works with wounded Marines at Camp Pendleton's Injured Support Unit.

Most recently, their youngest son, David, 29, signed on with the Marines as a recruit and is in boot camp.

As a recruit, Albert said the cycle of deployments, pre- and post-deployment training and reset time back home has gotten easier for him.

Things that were initially exciting - such as volunteering for a field mission, become commonplace and "almost boring."

He often tells his parents he's bored. But, as Albert admits and his parents understand, he doesn't tell them everything.

He said the regular violence from his first tour in Iraq seemed to be diminished during his most recent duty in Al Anbar province west of Baghdad.

Shifting back into civilian life, he said, and worrying about things like paying bills can be tricky for a soldier.

"Over there you have one job, whatever your specialty is, and taking care of the guy next to you," Albert Carvajal said. "There's times I'd rather be in Iraq."

But it also put into perspective things not worth stressing over - he just can't see getting worked up about traffic jams.

Although his parents said they aren't gung-ho about their sons serving in a war, which is a daily source of anxiety for them, they take great pride in their service and support their decisions.

"When they told me they enlisted, I knew that the decision was their's," said Conrado Carvajal. "I really think that what they're doing is a good thing."

But they worry. Maria Carvajal is skeptical about the practicality of building American-style democracy in Iraq. She looks forward to the war ending and a homecoming for all the troops.

On Saturday, she was a proud mom hosting her son. Looking at photos lining their living room of her boys in their military garb, she makes one admission.

"I've always liked the look of a uniform," she said.


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