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04-03-06, 08:40 AM #1
Marine returns home from service in Iraq
Marine returns home from service in Iraq
By Brian Saxton THE NEWS-TIMES
DANBURY — There's a particular patch of lawn in Adam Sismour's backyard in Danbury that he's touched for comfort since he was a boy.
"Somehow it's always been a reminder of home and of my family," Sismour said Saturday. "I remember going over there even when I was a kid."
Last August, before the 24-year-old U.S. Marine corporal was deployed to Iraq, he went back to the same spot and touched it one more time before heading off with his unit.
In the seven months that followed, as Sismour watched fellow Marines die and routinely came under fire himself, the snapshot remained fresh and clear in his mind.
"Sometimes I'd close my eyes to get a mental picture of home and I'd feel the grass in my fingertips," Sismour said. "It was that, and my family, that kept me going."
On Friday night, Sismour reached down to feel the grass again after family and friends welcomed him back.
"I can't describe how it feels to have him home," said Sismour's mother, Mary. "When he's away you constantly have a heavy heart and you're always worrying. Sometimes I'd even be afraid to come home in case I found a military vehicle in the driveway bringing bad news."
It was Sismour's second combat deployment since he joined the Marines in 2002. Before going to Iraq, the Danbury High School graduate spent seven months in Afghanistan as a machine-gunner with the 3-6 Marine Regiment.
In Iraq, Sismour's unit was assigned to a western province near the border with Syria. Its mission was to conduct both foot and combat vehicle patrols to hunt down insurgents.
"We trained a lot of Iraqi soldiers to come on patrol with us," Sismour said. "That was to show the Iraqis that there were people from their own country fighting for them."
For Sismour and his fellow Marines, attacks from hidden roadside bombs, suicide car bombers and snipers became everyday events.
"I remember being in the turret of a gun truck and suddenly hear the snap and crack of bullets whizzing past," Sismour said.
Searches of homes would often uncover either caches of arms and bombs or the equipment used to make them. Those same weapons were carried by suicide car bombers to ram vehicles used by Sismour's unit.
Sismour took a practical view of his service in Iraq. "It was my job," he said. "It's like training for a football team. When you get over there, it's game time."
Still, Sismour also felt something personal about being involved in Iraq.
"I was fighting to protect myself and my buddies but I also kept thinking about the victims of 9/11 and how their deaths should be avenged," Sismour said.
Although Sismour himself was never hit during his stint in Iraq, he lost seven of his comrades in various firefights.
Sismour, who came with his parents to live in Danbury in 1996, plans on leaving the Marines when his four-year term is up later this year. His goal is to start a business management degree course at Western Connecticut State University before transferring to the University of Pittsburgh, his family's home town.
On Saturday, at the family home on Tanglewood Drive, Sismour shared his wartime experiences with his parents, his sister, Kelly, 27, who works in Hartford, and brother Richard, 25, who lives and works in Pittsburgh.
His father, Richard, 55, a retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, is the director at General Electric's Flight Department in Newburgh, N.Y.
"We're very proud of our son," Richard Sismour said. "We're very thankful that he's come back safely because we were nervous when we first heard he was coming home. You hear so much about all those wonderful boys who are due to come home but never make it because their helicopter is suddenly shot down. I could never handle that."
Contact Brian Saxton
or at (203) 731-3332.
IN LOVING MEMORY OF MY LATE HUSBAND, SSgt Roger A. Alfano, USMC
ONE PROUD MARINE
Once a Marine...Always a Marine
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