Enlistment and Basic Training
Interviewee: Jonathan Toone
Jonathan talks about his decision to join the military. Jonathan considered joining the military after high school because his grandfather was a chaplain for the US Army in World War II, Vietnam and Korea, but he did not join until 2000. After earning his Associate’s degree in Japanese he joined the military as a counterintelligence agent in the National Guard. He talks about his basic training experience at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri. Then Jonathan moved to Monterey, California with his new wife to learn Chinese at the Defense Language Institute. Jonathan was then moved to Fort Huachuca in Mesa, Arizona for counterintelligence school where he was the honor graduate and platoon leader.
After counterintelligence school Jonathan and his wife and child moved back to Utah and Jonathan attended SLCC. Jonathan was then put on active duty and sent to Fort Carson in Colorado to prepare to be sent to Iraq. They were sent to Kuwait where they set up for about a month. He ended up in a place called Bushmaster about 90 miles from Baghdad. Jonathan describes his job monitoring HUMINT reports and doing country studies and city studies. He was also able to learn a bit of Arabic. His unit then moved to Anaconda Air Base in a place called Balad. Jonathan was then transferred to Mosul where he spent the rest of his time in Iraq interviewing locals for intelligence.
Jonathan talks about returning home and transitioning back into his family life. In 2006 he volunteered to go to Louisiana and help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. He talks about the job they had and how they spent their down time. Then Jonathan did a month and a half stint for the military at Camp Zama in Tokyo doing translation.
In January 2008 Jonathan was mobilized to go to Afghanistan. His job was to gather intelligence from people on the ground. He talks about training at Fort Lewis in Washington. Jonathan was finally deployed to Gardez, Afghanistan. Jonathan worked to set up a database for the intelligence they were gathering and helped train the others to interview the locals. He describes the conditions and working with other units.
Jonathan and his wife found this deployment easier because they knew what to expect and were prepared. He got used to being away but missed having a civilian life and being with his family. He talks about transitioning back into life at home. He says he would do it all over again but admits he had a problem with the politicized aspects of the military.