Iraq veteran returned to support current war effort |

Iraq veteran returned to support current war effort

Dennis WebbPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

Michael Howard said he saw two to three days of intense fighting as a young officer in the first war in Iraq. But his combat experience pales in comparison to what his fellow servicemen are experiencing there now.”It wasn’t like what they’re going through now in any sense of the imagination,” said Howard, a major in the Army Reserves and an assistant Garfield County attorney.Howard, 40, returned to the Middle East in September 2004 to work in support of the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He speaks with respect for the truck units that he saw risk their lives moving supplies for days at a time on the road from Kuwait into Iraq.An Idaho native, Howard joined the Army at 19 and headed to Iraq on the day after Christmas in 1990. He served there until mid-1991 as a fire support officer in the Third Infantry Division.”It was intense. As an officer, you want to lead soldiers, and I really wanted to lead soldiers. We accomplished the mission, and there was an exit strategy. We got done what we were sent to do.”Howard left active duty in 1993 and got his law degree. He served as city attorney in Riverdale, Utah, before being mobilized in 2004.Back in the Middle East, he served as a theater rotation officer, deciding what kinds of units were needed to support the war effort. Then he became a civil affairs officer, helping set up governments and build schools in Iraq and Afghanistan as part of the 405th Civil Affairs Battalion, based in Pleasant Grove, Utah.

He said he moved to civil affairs “just to be a bigger part of being able to make a difference.”He added, “I think everybody in the Army, or the majority of people, feel like they’re needed over there. … I don’t always agree with everything, but you want to be in the game, I guess.”Howard said he never has had more responsibility than as a first lieutenant in the first war in Iraq. But it also was one of the most rewarding times in his life.”You become the most focused in those situations. It was tough, but you prepared and prepared for it,” he said. Contact Dennis Webb: 384-9119dwebb@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO

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