APD officer returns from Iraq duty - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

APD officer returns from Iraq duty

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January 26, 2006

Albany -- An Albany police officer who serves with the 48th Brigade of the Georgia National Guard, is back home from Iraq.

Police Corporal Jay Dent only got to spend two months overseas because he hurt his back while working on equipment. But he wishes he could have finished the job with his comrades.

48th Brigade Sgt. Dent shows pictures he made in Iraq. "These right here are made in Camp Stryker. The experience over there was a good one. I'm glad I went."

Dent is now back on the job as Albany Police Corporal.  "It feels good, actually. I got a good welcoming home."

A heavy equipment mechanic, Dent went to Iraq in May, but suffered a back injury, and was shipped to Fort Gordon to recover. After six months of hospitals and therapy he is back on his regular job as a cop.

But he misses his National Guard comrades.  "We're buddies, we love each other. I'm glad I'm home, I'm out of harm's way. Of course anybody would. They are over there, I think I should be over there."

Dent said the 48th's morale was high despite tough conditions. "It was hot. Dirty, sandy. We called the wind overthere 'Devil's Breath' because it was so hot when it blew."

Dent said there is no doubt the Georgia National Guardsmen are helping free Iraq, and protect America.  "I think we made a big difference. We had to, We didn't have no choice. You know, We don't fail."

Dent wanted us to show the pictures of his buddies in the 48th, but talk of war and soldiers dying is still hard for him.  "Yeah, it is. But I don't want to talk about that, if you don't mind."

Your buddies in the 48th, obviously you are still thinking about them a lot. "Oh, yes, everyday, everyday."

Jay Dent's National Guard days are finished because of his back injury, and he is glad to have his Albany Police Uniform back on.  "I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't think they could pry my fingers from a car here," he laughs.

Dent says he can't wait until the rest of his 48th Brigade buddies get home, so they can all get together again. Dent says he keeps in touch with his friends in the 48th Brigade, and they tell him they should be heading out of Iraq soon.

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