Enlistment and Basic Training
Interviewee: Brent Huff
Brent Huff was born in West Valley City, Utah. He decided not to go on an LDS Church mission but still wanted to keep himself busy and have a sense of belonging to an organization. Serving in the U.S. armed forces appeared to be a solution and he decided to join the Marine Reserves for the challenge. He left for boot camp in 2001 and recalls how mentally demanding and culturally diverse it was. Despite these difficulties he took pride in his training and looks back on boot camp as very effective. He did not have much time to get attached to life at home before his reserve unit, Fox Company, was deployed to Camp Pendleton, California as a Quick Reaction Force in response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. He describes his year at Camp Pendleton as a good time, patrolling and bonding with the other soldiers in his unit. After their deployment at Camp Pendleton his unit was deployed to Iraq with the 1st Marine Division in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Brent was relieved that his unit was actually going to be fighting overseas this time.
Brent describes flying into Kuwait and the time spent there before going into Iraq. He states that he basically lived in a truck during their slow approach to Baghdad. When his unit began to encounter firefights he was more intrigued than horrified and he describes how he later felt energized by the intense combat in Baghdad. His unit had to deal many inter-cultural challenges throughout his tour in Iraq but despite this most Iraqis seemed very happy to see American Marines. After the main fighting in Baghdad subsided Brent’s unit became a security presence that oversaw several different compounds in the city.
Brent’s homecoming went very smooth. He felt very open to talking about his experience in Iraq but thinks he may have been too open when talking to people who didn’t understand military culture. He continued his involvement in the Marines after Iraq and served in Peru where he performed several different missions. Brent achieved the rank of Platoon Sergeant in the Marines but because of tensions with his commanding officer he has decided to move to the Army Special Forces doing intelligence work.