"This is my third tour to Iraq", said Staff Sgt. Jayson Heck with th U.S. Marine Corps. "This is my first time as a training advisor."
S taff Sgt. Jayson Heck, originally from Dimmitt, Texas, was deployed to Iraq for the third time in May of this year. This time as a training advisor for Operation New Dawn.
"New Dawn , it's the new mission after Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2009. It was a transition phase they changed the name to Operation New Dawn", said Staff Sgt. Heck. "Our mission was to train, advise and equip the Iraqi Marine Corps."
Although U.S. troops haven't always been welcome in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Heck tells us, he always felt safe.
"If you go in and respect people, you're going to get respect in return. If you go in and don't respect people, you're not going to get that in return. The Iraqi troops that we were training, the Iraqi Marines, they were very receptive to the training that we provided them. They were willing to learn and they wanted to learn more", added Heck.
Staff Sgt. Heck's 13 man team will be the last Marine team returning home under Operation New Dawn after what he called a very successful mission.
"It's about like everything else. Life in general has it's ups and downs and that's the same as it is on a deployment," continued Heck. "It's has it's ups and downs, funny moments, tense moments you know, but all in all it was a good deployment".
Heck's wife and two daughters live in Oceanside, California where he'll be returning on his trip back stateside and like most deployed military men and women coming home, the sooner the better.
"Hopefully before the holidays" said Staff Sgt. Heck.