Sergeant Brad Gantz has returned home to Clermont County after his second tour of duty in Afghanistan.
“It really feels great to be home,” he said in his family’s Batavia Township home Oct. 16. “I am grateful for all of those who have supported me over the past four years.”
Gantz, 23, enlisted in the Army after graduating from Glen Este High School in 2004.
Since joining the military, Gantz, who is stationed in Italy, has been deployed twice to Afghanistan, from March 2005 to March 2006, and then from May 2007 until August 2008; he returned home to a hero's welcome two weeks ago.
While stationed in Afghanistan, Sergeant Gantz, an army scout/sniper in the second battalion of the 503rd infantry, was in a reconnaissance team, whose primary mission was to locate Taliban enemy soldiers and destroy their many weapons caches (which he said involved of a lot of walking through very rough terrain).
Gantz said that he witnessed much heavy combat and was frequently engaged with America's enemies while serving our country in the north area of Asabad, which is the capital of the Kunar Provence in Afghanistan.
A neighboring company in Gantz's battalion was ambushed by Taliban insurgents on July 13 of this year, leaving nine dead and 15 wounded.
"I am glad to be home in a country where I have the freedom to do what I want," Gantz said. "Not having to worry about anything when I wake up is wonderful."
Gantz plans on studying psychology at the University of Cincinnati, and hopes to eventually work for the federal government in a civilian capacity.
When asked if he feels whether or not progress has been made in the war on terror in Afghanistan, he replied, without hesitation, in the affirmative.
"There are always going to be insurgents in the country who do not want us there," he said. "And they are more than willing to fight - but they are no match for the might of the American will and the power of the American military - we will win this war."
Gantz, who was recognized by the Clermont County Commissioners Oct. 21, is a decorated soldier, receiving three Army commendation medals, a combat infantryman's badge, an expert infantryman's badge, the army achievement medal, and the global war on terrorism experience medal, among others.
At this time, Gantz will not be returning for a third tour of duty, something that his parents Matt and Rebecca Gantz said that the family are very pleased to hear.
"We are so proud of him," Matt Gantz said. "And we are so glad that he is home safe and sound."