Enlistment and Basic Training
Interviewee: Wayde Broberg
Wayde Broberg grew up in Sandy, Utah. He had always wanted to join the military and looked up to relatives that had fought in Korea and Vietnam. His best friend convinced him to join the Marine Reserves instead of the Army and he entered boot camp in 1996. Boot camp was slightly easier than he thought it would be but the experience there did deter him from looking to the Marines as a career. He recalls loving Reserve life with Fox Company even though it was difficult to manage at times. He was able to get married and was about to wind down his service when 9/11 attacks occured. When he saw the broadcast of the terrorist attacks, he immediately called his commander and asked to be deployed with Fox Company but was disappointed when his unit was instead deployed to Camp Pendleton, California and only drilled as a quick reaction force for Operation Noble Eagle. He discusses the tensions between Active Service and Reserve Marines at Camp Pendleton. After 10 months of training and drilling in California, he thought the news that they were deploying to Iraq might be a joke. He goes on to discuss how this second, overseas, deployment began to put a major strain on his marriage.
Wayde’s unit was assigned to the 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He felt very weird when he arrived in Kuwait and had no idea what to expect in the following months. He describes the extreme fear he felt after seeing dead bodies in Iraq and eventually went numb to the violence. In addition, he talks about how he and the other Marines in his unit felt they could not be too friendly to Iraqi civilians after seeing so much urban violence. During a firefight in Baghdad he was knocked out, suffered several minor injuries, and had to be withdrawn from combat. He remembers his experience in the medical branch of the military as being very confusing although he was happy when he got the opportunity to call home on a satellite telephone. His eventual homecoming was difficult. He had a hard time talking to people, especially his wife, who he separated from soon after returning. Although he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) he still feels he can have a fully functional life. Regardless of his difficulties he is very proud of his eight and a half years in the Marines.