Senior Airman Jeff Clark of the United States Air Force returned from his second deployment in July, and the Goshen High School graduate returned home without telling his family.
“I surprised everyone,” Clark said about his return. “No one knew I was coming I just showed up at the house.”
Clark’s wife, Danielle, said she was very shocked but of course happy to see her husband walk through the door. Clark was in Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn for six and a half months.
“It feels great to be home,” Clark said.
Clark also has some catching up to do with his family and his 3-year-old son, Caleb, who said he was excited to see his dad when he came home.
“He was talking a lot more and he knew a lot more about what was going on,” Clark said about how his little boy had changed.
But he also said that pretty soon it was like he never left.
“We just picked up where we left off,” Danielle said.
Clark joined the Air Force right out of high school. He said the decision has changed him, made him more mature and given him more life experience.
Clark was first deployed to Qatar in 2009. He came home for a year and a half and then was deployed to Iraq. While in Iraq, Clark was in charge of patrolling the base perimeter.
“It was a lot different than my last deployment,” Clark said. “The threat was actually real (in Iraq). It was nerve wracking at first.”
He also said the high temperatures and humidity Clermont County has seen recently are nothing compared to what he dealt with in Iraq.
Upon his arrival home, he was also honored at the Clermont County Commissioners’ session August 3.
“It’s great to feel support for my hometown and home country,” Clark said at the ceremony.
He was recognized for his commitment to the country by the commissioners, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, Tracy Braden of The Thank You Foundation and Mark Coyle, director of the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission.
“You are a great American, great hero and a great father to a little boy,” Congresswoman Schmidt said at the ceremony.
Clark’s wife, son and mother, Brenda, where all at the ceremony along with other Clermont County residents to celebrate his return.
“It feels good,” Clark said. “To know that many people feel about the military the way they do, and to be honored like that.”