Soldier leaving for 2nd tour in Iraq

By Daniel Richardson

By the time this is printed, Sergeant Scott Smoot of Seaford will be in Fort Dix, N.J., training for his second tour in the Middle East. In September of 2002, Smoot was stationed in Saudi Arabia when the first bombs were dropped on the city of Baghdad at the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Smoot remained in Saudi Arabia until May of 2003, when he returned to the United States. A graduate of Seaford Christian Academy, Smoot has lived in Seaford since he was nine years old. Smoot's father, Scott, and his stepmother, Suzannah, live in Seaford. Smoot joined the National Guard in 2000 at the age of 19. "I took a year and went to college," Smoot said, "...then the recruiter called up...the first reason I joined was for college money, 100% free college tuition...I've never used it." Smoot is on military leave from his current position as a corrections officer at Smyrna Correctional Facility. "It's a good job," Smoot said of Smyrna Correctional Facility. "Not everyone can do it. I have a duck's back, so nothing bothers me." Smoot currently has orders for a 400-day deployment. The first two months will be spent training at Fort Dix in Burlington County, N.J. From there, Smoot will head to Kuwait and then into Iraq. "We should be home in mid-June of next year, give or take a few weeks," Smoot said.

When asked how he feels about his deployment, Smoot said, "I am excited to get over there and see what it is like because you hear things on TV and hear what other people say, but when I get there, I will see what it is like for myself." The separation from his family is the hardest thing for Smoot. His wife is due to give birth around July 1 with their second son (the Smoots already have a three-year-old boy.) "A year is not that long of time," said Smoot, "we are going to be separated for a year, but when we look back on it, we will say it flew by." Smoot said that he is personally not afraid of going into Iraq. "I am not afraid for myself, but I am afraid that if something happens to me, it will be hard on my family," Smoot said. "I am a Christian, so if something happens to me, I know where I am going, but if something happens to me, my sons won't have a father and my wife won't have a husband, so I am more afraid for my family than for myself." Smoot is part of the 153rd Military Police Company for the Delaware National Guard. This is only the second time that his company has been activated since its inception in 1997. The first activation, which Smoot was a part of, sent the company to Saudi Arabia in 2002. When asked how he feels about the war, Smoot replied, "it is always said that this is the war on is a war you can't win, it's always going to be there. There will always be evil in this world and if someone is willing to die in order to take you with them, you can't beat that."

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