Student recalls deployment and transition back to civilian life

Chelsey Fisher

Sophomore political science major Albert Lindsey spent 11 months in Iraq. He returned to Appalachian last year. Maggie Cozens | The Appalachian Sophomore political science major and active member of the army reserve Albert Lindsey served as an army reserve specialist in transportation in Iraq last year after attending two semesters at the university.

Lindsey spent 11 months in Iraq.

Lindsey said while he was deployed his main mission was to take inventory of “everything in Iraq.”

“It was sent to us so we could distribute it back into different units in Afghanistan or anywhere else,” Lindsey said. “A military way of recycling.”

The supplies would have to be transported to other locations. The trips were long, and because of security were often made longer, Lindsey said. Once, an eight-hour drive became a two-day trip.

Lindsey said he was never caught in the midst of combat, but experienced mortar being fired on the base on a fairly regular basis.

“At first it was just like ‘wow this is real,’” Lindsey said. “But after a while you basically get used to it, but you’re still on edge because you know it’s going to happen. That’s why it’s important to have your affairs in order before you go because anything can happen.”

Osama Bin Laden was killed while Lindsey was deployed.

Lindsey said that day was much like any other. When they woke up the headline on their daily newspaper told them Bin Laden had been killed.  

“For us, that was our mission,” Lindsey said. “That wasn’t really our priority over there at all. To me, the war was much bigger than him. There was no big celebration.”

Lindsey said there was a sense of community among his fellow “battle buddies.”

“No matter what your beliefs are or who you are, your sexual orientation, your beliefs, your race, the military is very against discrimination,” Lindsey said. “It’s all about being a community.”

Lindsey said he deployed because he didn’t know what he wanted to do.

When he returned, his transition was made easier because he had found what he wanted to do: political science.

“I got to see the other side and I wanted to be able to come back here and use that knowledge to educate the people around me,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey said it could be hard transitioning into civilian life because “people do not understand.”

People tend to ask a lot of questions “to get to know you as a person now compared to the person that you were before you left, and you just have to be patient,” Lindsey said.

Lindsey said people should thank the veterans that they see.

“Shake their hands,” Lindsey said. “They wear their caps for a reason, they want to be recognized.”

“Just be thankful because without them, we wouldn’t be living in the society that we live in today,” Lindsey said. “They sacrificed their lives, their families.”

Sophomore French education major Ben Wacker said Lindsey “does not let the military or his service define who he is — it is merely an experience he had.”

“I have a lot of respect for him as a military man, because I know, for me, I wouldn’t have been able to voluntarily join the military,” said William Post, sophomore accounting major. “Albert is an amazing person and has truly served our country for all of our freedoms. I couldn’t have asked for a better best friend and I love him for the man he has become.”

Story: STEPHANIE SANSOUCY, Senior News Reporter