Kremmling men send word home from Iraq
December 26, 2007
Two Colorado Air National Guardsmen with ties to Kremmling are currently serving in Iraq.
Master Sergaent John Singer and Staff Sergaent Tyler Myers, uncle and nephew, are serving at Balad Air Force Base north of Baghdad. They deployed to Iraq with their Air National Guard units in late October.
John Singer, 48, is the son of Verne and Wanda Singer who have lived in Bighorn Park, just outside of Kremmling, since 1981.
“My parents moved there after they retired and I was already in the Air Force, having enlisted in 1980,” Singer said. “I really didn’t have any idea what I was getting myself into (when I enlisted). But when I look back now, I realize how much I have grown since making that decision.
“It was worth it. I have been to many bases within the U.S. Outside the U.S, I have been to Canada, Korea twice, Turkey twice and this is my second tour in Iraq.”
Singer works for the Colorado Air National Guard as a full-time technician as well as performing the same job as a traditional Guardsman who usually serves one weekend a month.
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His nephew, Tyler Myers, who recently celebrated his 26th birthday in Iraq, spent his teenage years living with his grandparents Verne and Wanda Singer in Kremmling.
He attended West Grand High School for four years and graduated in 2000.
“I also work full-time for the Colorado Air National Guard as a weapons specialist,” Myers said. “I enlisted in 2002 after going to college for a couple of years and realizing my educational benefits would run out before I graduated. I joined for the educational benefits. I’ve been deployed to Korea and a few other state-side bases with San Diego and Las Vegas being the most notable.”
In their current deployment in Iraq, both airmen are there to support U.S. Air Force flying operations. Singer is assigned to 332 EMXS as an armaments systems supervisor while Myers, who is a member of the 140th Maintenance Squadron, has the job of ensuring the reliability of aircraft weapons systems and loading the ammunition onto the aircraft.
Living and working in a combat zone can, of course, be dangerous. Singer, who also served in an earlier deployment to Iraq in 2003, acknowledges the base where they operate has come under attack.
“Unfortunately, experiencing hostile fire is the nature of our business,” he said.
Myers, who is on his first tour of Iraq, also accepts the risks of his profession.
“Well, it is Iraq,” he said. “We get a lot of mortar attacks. In fact, the base’s nickname is ‘Mortaritaville.’ The are also occasional rocket attacks, but, all in all, it’s not that bad.”
Since their arrival in Iraq, both airmen have been hard at work performing their military duties with little opportunity to meet the Iraqi people or to learn their views about Americans. However, they have gotten some general impressions of that country.
“There is a lot of good happening here in Iraq,” Singer said. “There are a lot of people wanting the same freedoms we enjoy back home, and there are a few who do not understand the opportunity they have before them.”
Myers said he has had almost no chance to meet Iraqis either on or off base since his arrival.
“On our base, there are a lot of Third Country Nationals employed by the contractors here,” he said. “If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from traveling with the military, it’s that wherever you go people are just people.”
The two Colorado Air Guardsmen expressed their strong support from their mission in Iraq and their belief in America’s cause in the War on Terror.
“If there were no criminals, we would not have a need for the police,” Singer said.
Myers also said he believes strongly in what he is doing.
“I would just like to say that I’m happy to be here and proud to serve,” he said.
While proud to serve their country during the ongoing war, both men admit to missing their home state because Iraq has such a different climate and terrain.
“I love the lush terrain of Colorado and the autumn colors of fall,” Singer said. “The trees here look kind of dusty and droopy, and the dirt is almost like brown moon dust. At this time, it’s dry and hot, but we are expecting rain and lots of it.”
Myers also said he misses his home in Colorado.
“It’s flat and dry here in Iraq with scarce vegetation which is pretty much what you would expect in a desert,” he said. “It’s as dry as Colorado, but not quite as cold. And unfortunately, there’s no snow.”
Along with feeling homesickness for Colorado, the two men are also missing their family and friends, especially during this holiday season.
“I would just like to say ‘Hi’ to my parents Kathleen and Bruce Larkins and to my grandparents Wanda and Verne Singer. Thanks for everything,” Myers said.
“And I’d like to say ‘Hi’ to my Mom and Dad, Verne and Wanda Singer. Thank you for being a sturdy foundation in my life. I love you both,” Singer said.