CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – A young southern man waits patiently for the clock to read 5 p.m.. Then he gathers his belongings and heads home to see his wife and children after a long day of supervising an assembly line for a large all-terrain vehicle corporation.
Sgt. Jimmy Weeks Jr., a native of Manning, S.C., with 151st Field Artillery Brigade, South Carolina Army National Guard has a different job this year.
He left his civilian job to do his part in Operation Iraqi Freedom after his unit was activated. Now, he is working in the Iraqi security forces cell in the division headquarters at Camp Liberty, Iraq.
Weeks can be found on the phone tracking Iraqi forces on the battle field or preparing power point slides for the commanding general.
“I do a lot of power point presentations for our chain of command so that everyone knows the progress and placement of Iraqi forces on the battlefield,” Weeks said.
Weeks is used to keeping track of other people. He has two active little boys and a loving wife waiting for him in South Carolina. His oldest son is 7 and his youngest is almost 2, he said.
“My wife called the other day and I could hear the baby in the background just screaming,” Weeks said. “Don’t get me wrong, I miss my kids a lot, but on the bright side I am missing the terrible 2 stage. I will leave it to my wife to whip him in to shape before I get him.”
Not only does he miss his family but he misses and appreciates the whole essence of home. He said he misses the South Carolina sun. “I am an outdoors person and there is just so much to do during the summer,” he said.
His stomach is ready to go back to his home state too. “I am looking forward to family barbecues again. I miss my mom’s mashed potatoes and my wife’s fried chicken,” Weeks said.
Weeks was fortunate enough to bring some of his closest friends with him on this deployment which makes things easier. “I miss home but I brought a piece of home with me. Some of my best friends are in my unit,” he said.
Weeks has been in the same unit for seven years so he has gotten to know his comrades very well, he said.
“There are four of us guys here who were all friends in the rear. We all came here as specialists, and we all got promoted to sergeants since being here,” Weeks said. “We all hang out together playing ball and stuff.”
When he and his buddies aren’t working they can be found on the basketball court, at the gym or watching movies. “My roommate has all the seasons of ‘Sanford and Son’ so we watch an episode just about every day,” he said.
Weeks and his battle buddies are working hard and using one another to remind each other of home, he said.
Instead of looking forward to 5 o’clock, this time he is looking forward to October when he can gather his gear and come home to his wife and kids after a long year’s work.