Sgt. John Matheson
Hometown: Omaha / Age: 45 / 1-134th Calvary Squadron, Nebraska National Guard, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop
Q: At what age did you enlist?
A: 41. I really wanted to, not to be cliche, but pay my debt to society, so to speak. I always wanted to do the Army thing, and as the years went by and I got older, I never thought (I could). And one day I was watching C-SPAN, and it was after 9-11, and I was only watching C-SPAN because I couldn’t find the remote, and they said that they’d raised the enlistment age to 43.
I called the recruiter and said, “Is that right?” And he said, “Yeah. Come on down and talk to us.” A few weeks later, I was in basic training.
Q: Is this your first deployment?
A: No, it’s my second. We were in a detainment facility (in Iraq). . . . We had 26,000 Iraqi prisoners. . . . Doing the PSD (personal security detail), we’re out every day with (Lt. Col. Tom Rynders). It’s a good change of pace. We have one of the better jobs.
It’s about the same as Iraq, as far as the reception with the people in general and everything. I think a lot of them appreciate and accept the help, but then you’ve got the 80/20 rule . . . 20 percent of the people cause 80 percent of the problems. It’s a good rule of thumb for about anywhere you go.
Q: You said your wife is a fan of the At War, At Home blog. What’s her name? Is there anything you’d like to share about her?
A: Sandra. It’s her second deployment. I’ve got five kids. Three are still at home. She’s a trooper. She’s doing good. It’s better this time. She’s helping the “first deployment” wives and girlfriends out. She does a good job. She keeps everything together. That’s what we need.
Q: Is there anything you’d like to say to her?
A: I love you. Hang in there. Keep doing a good job.