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June 7, 2014

Cross Roads veteran talks of military life

Athens — It takes more than a few good men and women to give the U.S. its military presence around the globe.

Twenty-eight-year-old Scott Conditt is ready to move on to the next state of his life after serving in the Army on two continents. The Cross Roads graduate says he’s proud of the eight years he served  in the military.

“Military is not just about learning to shoot a gun,” Conditt said. “They teach you how to live your life as well, and how to take care of yourself in every way possible.”

Conditt went to school in Cross Roads from kindergarten through the 12th grade. He played on the Cross Roads Bobcats football team that earned the school’s first playoff berth in the sport. Conditt was also on the golf team that went to state.

“I come from a poor family. To get the college and everything, my family couldn’t pay for that,” Conditt said. “To get the G.I. Bill was important. And to serve my country was an important part of it.”

When Conditt went into the Army, he was sent to Fort Sill, Okla. His military occupational specialty was ammunition specialist.

“I worked with 9 mil, up to the hell-fire rockets on the Apache helicopters, just doing inventories and inspections,” Conditt said.

The first day of camp made him wonder if going into the Army had been the right choice.

“After I gave it a few days, I wasn’t nervous about it,” Conditt said.

Soon, he was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, where he served 15 months.

“When I arrived, my first impression was that it was very hot,” Conditt said. “The first day I got there it was 80 degrees when we landed. I thought it was a regular Texas summer. By the time 15-hundred hours came, at 3 o’clock, it was 140 degrees.

“When I was there, I worked alongside Iraqis loading up trucks, and taking them out on missions,” Conditt said. “A lot of them spoke English very well. That was a great experience.  They’re doing dangerous work. If the bad guys find out they’re working for us, they’ll kill their whole family. I respected those guys, because they’re working for their family.”

Conditt said there were a few enemy attacks while he was in Baghdad, but it didn’t keep him from doing his job.

“I reenlisted while I was there in Baghdad,” Conditt said. “In fact, I reenlisted in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces.”

Conditt signed up for another six years. He said he takes pride in serving his country, and knowing that only about one percent of the  population is in military service.

“To be a part of that small group was awesome to me,” Conditt said. “We live by a saying, If we don’t — who will?”

Conditt’s next overseas duty was in South Korea. He tried squid and octopus, and liked them just fine. The traditional fermented vegetable dish, Kimchi, didn’t suit his taste as well.

“I tried the spicy and the regular kind,” Conditt said.

Most South Koreans were extremely pro-American, and helped welcome the U.S. soldiers.

“They’ve worked along with us for 60 years now,” Conditt said. “Most of the people know we’re there for them, and want to keep North Korea out of South Korea.”

Conditt returned to the U.S. after four years in South Korea, and is now headed for a new adventure, to work in the oil fields near the West Texas Town of Kermit.  He also plans to get to spend more time with his son and daughter.

Conditt encourages those graduating from high school or college, who might be looking into a military career to consider it, and make sure it’s the right path for them.

“It’s a very high honor to get to serve your country,” Conditt said. “You’ve got to go in with an open mind, and be ready for some changes. The military changes every five minutes. You’ll be adapting all of your career.”

Conditt said it might be a good practice for young people in this country to have a mandatory term of  service, like they have in South Korea.

“We have values we live by in the army,” Conditt said. “Leadership, duty, personal courage, honor, integrity, and all those things you can take to a new job.”

 

 

 

 

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