Archive for Thursday, March 24, 2005

Eudora Guardsman surprises family with unexpected visit from Iraq

March 24, 2005

Misti McCormick got a special surprise earlier this month when her husband, Kurtis McCormick, walked through the front door unexpectedly.

When the couple's 4-year-old daughter, Kasi, shouted out to her father when he stepped inside the house, Misti was sure it was really Kurtis' twin brother Travis. Her husband, she thought, was in Iraq.

But she was wrong.

The Kansas Army National Guard soldier arrived in Eudora March 7 after his number was pulled at random from a hat, allowing him 15 days of rest and relaxation at home.

"It was like a lottery," he said.

McCormick said he hadn't planned on keeping his visit a secret, but that he never had a chance to call home to inform his wife he was coming. By the time he was in a place where he could easily contact her, he was close enough to home that he decided he would surprise his unsuspecting family.

McCormick said he was surprised to have the chance to take leave so early, because he had been in the field for about two months. He said soldiers who have important events, such as the birth of children or a family member's wedding, were usually given priority status when it came to taking leave.

"I didn't have any of those dates," he said.

McCormick has used his time at home to sit back, relax and enjoy being with his family.

His daughter said her favorite part of having her dad home was reading stories and playing games together.

The trips to and from Iraq each took three long days of travel, McCormick said. The trip back to Iraq began Wednesday. Once he returns to Iraq he will resume building a section of highway with other engineers in the National Guard.

"Our main job is helping the Iraqis run their asphalt plant," he said.

McCormick said he and others from the U.S. military had been received well by the Iraqi people with whom they were working. He said one man brought the American soldiers fresh-baked bread every day because one of them had supplied him with heartburn medicine for his wife.

Another opportunity for leave wouldn't come for at least a year, McCormick said, but he hoped his deployment would be over by that time anyway. He said he wasn't sure how long he would be in Iraq.

"Until everybody comes home, really," he said.

McCormick said he hoped to be home permanently by Christmastime.

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