Weapons seized... National Guardsman SP4 Greg Fernandez is one of many soldiers responsible for weapons seized from insurgents located in Iraq. This particular weapon is an RPG Air Missile.
submitted photo/ Betty Fernandez
Off the front line to the home front, an injured Grenada soldier is preparing to come home.
While serving in Iraq, National Guardsman, SP4 Greg Fernandez knew the dangers, according to his family.
"He was doing everything he could over there from raids, digging up bombs, and he performed mine sweeps," said his mother Betty. "They found a lot of guns, bombs, and explosives."
According to Fernandez's family, the soldier worked unselfishly as part of the United States' effort to help Iraqi people establish a democracy of their own.
"I'm extremely proud of him. He has always liked helping people and he's enjoyed helping the Iraqi people. Even when he was on leave, he couldn't wait to go back and help them."
It was this sense of duty that placed Fernandez in the line of fire.
While only 20 miles outside of Baghdad, Fernandez was seriously injured when he was shot in the throat. Scrap metal from the attack went completely through a major artery and in both eyes. After multiple surgeries the soldier's life was saved, but the road to recovery will be a long one, according to his parents. Even with all the extensive damage Fernandez suffered, his parents consider him blessed.
"Mostly, everyone I saw at the hospital was 18 or 19 with no arms or no legs," said Fernandez's father Frank. "Greg was in better shape than most. That tells you what's going over there."
Currently, Fernandez is being treated at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. According to the Pentagon about 40 percent of all U.S. troops in Iraq are guardsman or reserve officers.
After graduating from Grenada High School in 2003, Fernandez knew immediately what career path he would take. He decided to join the Army National Guard, attending boot camp in Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and leaving behind his mother and father, Betty and Frank along with his younger sister Shana. After becoming skilled in basic combat training, Fernandez found a talent for working with heavy equipment. He completed courses in areas such as construction equipment operation and environmental compliance.
Fernandez served with Charlie Company of the 150th Engineer Battalion during which he served as a gunner on vehicles, performed cache searching, and operated heavy equipment. He also participated in a raid that resulted in the capture of 102 detainees and eight enemies killed.
Fernandez says he enjoyed his tour of duty.
"It was a team effort and I kind of wish I was still with them," said Fernandez. "I enjoyed it over there it was fun."
Although, he still has some medical procedures to endure the Fernandez family hopes to have a welcome home celebration in honor of their son. As of now plans of welcoming Fernandez arrival have been placed on hold, until his arrival date is known. The Daily Star announce the event later.
The welcome home is plannted to take place at Emmanuel Baptist Church. Fernandez says the community has really shown their support.
"We have received more phone calls about Greg than we've ever received," said Betty. The community has been just outstanding and we really don't know if we could have gone through this without the community."