Veterans Day is a special time to honor the noble and courageous men and women who have served our country. At Athens, we are honored to work alongside some of those individuals.
Field Supervisor Thomas Wedding is one of them. He developed an interest in joining the military while in high school; he wanted to be a part of something more. When the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Twin Towers occurred, that was the push he needed. Soon thereafter, he joined the Army in 2002.
Thomas served as a Chemical Operations Specialist for two deployments. The first was to Iraq from 2003-2004 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He served in the 82nd Airborne Division, where he focused on security and artillery for the base. This was a scary time as tensions were high and conditions in the country were dangerous.
“Our base was attacked repeatedly and back then we didn’t have the type of technology we had during my second deployment,” said Thomas.
Between deployments, he was stationed with the 25th Infantry Division Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, where he married his wife of now 17 years, Candice. Three months later, he began another deployment to Iraq that lasted from 2006-2008. Luckily for the couple, Thomas had more access to communication channels this time around. They would video chat at least once a week and communicate through instant messenger.
His experience during the second deployment was different. The state of the country had settled down and there was a surge of troops to help with training the Iraqi national army and police, while his unit focused solely on protecting the base. Thomas finished up his army career at Fort Irwin where he trained units for deployment.