By Caroline Wigmore
Two days after his 23rd birthday, Eric Campbell of Winsted said goodbye to his family for what will be seven to eight months when he left with his reserve unit for Djibouti, Africa, Monday, Sept. 15.
The unit will be working with the US Navy, the French Foreign Legion, and local Djiboutians. Djibouti is considered a combat zone by the Department of Defense, but it is not a typical combat zone as there have been no successful attacks carried out to date on the base or on the Djiboutian locals.
Campbell’s unit will work to deter terrorists from establishing a stronghold in Djibouti and build on an already great relationship with the Djiboutian locals through aiding them in various humanitarian missions.
“I am very excited to go on this deployment. I’m interested to get a new perspective on the world, as I have never been outside the US,” Campbell said. Campbell’s superiors have tried to prepare the unit for the astronomical poverty they will encounter in Djibouti.
“My family has been very supportive of me ever since I joined the Marine Corps. Our unit was told we were going to Iraq at first, but then it abruptly changed to Djibouti, which made things a lot easier on the family,” Campbell said.
“Kevin (Eric’s father) and I had been prepared for Eric’s deployment to Iraq for over a year, so when we found out about his deployment to Djibouti, we were relieved,” Lois Campbell, Eric’s mother said.
Eric’s family’s primary form of communication with him while he is overseas will be via Internet.
Campbell considers himself fortunate to have met Governor Pawlenty during a send-off ceremony at Fort Snelling last June. Pawlenty quoted President Ronald Reagan, saying, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondeing if they made a difference. Marines don’t have that problem.”
Pawlenty took the time to speak with Campbell individually after the ceremony.
Campbell can receive mail while overseas and he will also look for comments from friends on his facebook account.
Cpl Campbell, Eric W.
Alpha Co 1st Plt