Airman first class Jeff M. Clark will be departing for his first deployment to Iraq next month.
The Clermont County native, who was recognized and honored for his upcoming service to his country by the Clermont County Board of Commissioners Nov. 19, said that he was very humbled by the recognition.
“This feels really good,” Clark said, surrounded by his family. “To be honored by the county commissioners before I even leave for Iraq makes me feel very special – and extremely humbled.”
After one of his friends gave a recruiter his personal contact information, and still unsure of what career path he wanted to pursue, Clark decided that the military would be a good place for him while he figured out what that future would be, and enlisted in September of 2006.
He has since determined that when his military service is complete, he is interested in now making a career out of law enforcement.
Stationed out of the Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, Clark will depart for the al-Udeid Air Force Base in Qatar in the Persian Gulf on Dec. 22.
He is, at this time, unable to describe what his specific mission will be, but he feels that he is trained and ready to face whatever his six-month deployment has in store for him while stationed there.
"I am a little nervous," he said. "And I will mostly miss my wife, my baby, and the rest of my family."
Clark, who in his spare time likes to watch sports, especially hockey, said that he will also miss Skyline Chili, smores, pop-tarts, and beef jerky.
His wife Danielle, who married Jeff a year and a half ago, said that she has mixed emotions about her husband being deployed to one of the most dangerous places in the world.
"But I am really proud of him," she said. "I know that it is his job, and when I married him, I knew that I was joining the service as well. But I support him and love him."
Clark, who feels that the best thing about being in the U.S. military is the experience and the travel, was very appreciative that the commissioners, on behalf of a grateful county, recognized him for what he described as "just doing his job."
"But is so much more than just doing your job," Clermont County commission president Bob Proud said. "And we are the grateful ones."