Enlistment and Basic Training

Interviewee: Chris Spurrier


Chris Spurrier was born in Provo, Utah and grew up in Colorado and California. His family eventually moved back to Utah and he went to high school in Orem. Desperate for a way to pay for college and something to do with his life, he looked to military service as a solution. He joined the Army National Guard and thought the basic training was mentally challenging, but physically a bit easier than he expected. He became a combat engineer for 14/57 Battalion Headquarters Company. He notes the relaxed attitude in his unit prior to the 9/11 attacks and the drastic change that took place afterwards with the heightened level of alert, and drills that became an everyday preoccupation. In February 2002 his unit carried out graveyard security for the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. In April 2003 his unit was deployed to Iraq and left Fort Lewis for Kuwait.

Chris arrived in Kuwait in the middle of the night and was struck by the intensity of the heat. He describes how his truck convoy needed to periodically stop while in Iraq to deal with small combat engagements with the enemy. Once his unit settled into its Iraq base, they began supplying other units. During this time he was working an average of eighteen hours a day as a driver and other odd jobs. He talks about the hard work his unit did, the state of communication, and discipline problems within his unit.

He was very happy to return home to his family and is now about to graduate with a degree in criminal justice from Utah Valley University. Chris talks about the mental problems many of his friends had to deal with after their homecoming and also how in his case service in Iraq changed his life for the better.