Abe Kinkade and his family moved to Delta when he was a year old and lived here for seven years.
The family lived in Monte Vista for another seven years before returning to Delta where he entered high school in his sophomore year, graduating in 2004. He
worked at Safeway in Delta while attending high school.
Two weeks after graduation, June 2, 2004, he entered military service. He had several reasons for joining the army; to serve his country as had other family members and to enable him to attend college without incurring huge loans.
He was deployed to Iraq in August 2006, ﬁrst ﬂying to Germany, then to Kuwait for a month before arriving in Iraq. He ofﬁcially ended his service obligation on June 1 of this year. He was in the 1st Infantry Division — “Big Red One” — 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Battalion, 77th armored Regiment “Steel Tigers,” HHC (Headquarters and Headquarters Company).
In Kuwait, for a month prior to moving on, he said, “Soon after arriving, about 40 of our troops were engaged in desert training when we saw a Bedouin with some camels nearby and asked if we could ride. We walked up to him dressed in full gear, including our weapons. I don’t know what he thought because he didn’t understand English, but of course he let us ride his camels!”
In Iraq, Abe was an ammo supplier driving a PLS (Palletized Loading System) 10-wheel truck with a ﬂat bed that is easy to load. The bed (pallet) can be dropped down to load Humvees, blown up vehicles, equipment and other supplies. A large hook is used to pick up the bed. When reattached, the truck can be driven off, loaded. The cab is fully armored. The front wheels are located behind the cab, designed so that if the vehicle should hit a bomb on the road, damage would occur behind the cab.
Ramadi, where he was stationed, is the capitol of El Anbar Province, Iraq, two hours west of Baghdad. The Sunni population had been pretty much spoiled by Saddam Hussein. They are survivors and have ﬁgured out that they have to be buddies with the troops now if they want to be successful.
Duties included ordering, picking up, and transporting mortar rounds, tank rounds, and other supplies for his unit.
“Two weeks after we arrived in Ramadi we were on a mission creating a small combat outpost in the middle of the city. Some of the houses had been purchased and we were letting some of the people back in to get their belongings. I was told to get in my truck and pull it forward. As I walked up the alley, a gunshot rang out.
Iraqis watched us scatter. I ran. Later, I was told that this had been a drive-by shooting and that I had been the target,” he said.
Another event could have been a close call. “It was New Year’s Eve. The mission was to raid some of the houses. We were to set up concrete barriers along the streets so if anyone tried to get away they would be blocked. It was the middle of the night on the most dangerous street in the city. Engineers on the ground were out in front of us with ﬂashlights looking for IEDs [Improved Explosive Devices, referred to as roadside bombs]. A guy in front of my truck yelled, ‘Stop! Stop we have an IED here. Back up! Back up!’ We did. Explosive Ordinance Disposal was called and early in the morning at 3 a.m. on New Year’s Day we celebrated as the bomb was safely blown up.
“One day we heard bombs exploding, one right after another… we found damage just outside the police station. A car bomb blew a parked car across the street and into a garage, damaging the building. Two Iraqi policemen were killed in this bombing. We set up barriers to block off the area and dropped off fresh water. Then, we proceeded to a nearby area to secure another location that had been bombed shortly after the other,” recalled the young soldier.
Farms are prevalent on the outskirts of the city. Some are small, others quite large. “We recruited a lot of Iraqi policemen from this area. They have helped many insurgents from entering the city.”
Abe’s job at Safeway was waiting for him (as promised) when he returned. He has transferred to a Grand Junction store where he works in the produce department. His plans are to move to Grand Junction and continue to work while continuing his education at Mesa State College this fall. On discharge, he joined the National Guard and became a member of the VFW.
A wedding is alson on the horizon, in the spring. Abe got acquainted with Daniela Maier through the Internet’s MySpace. She is German, living near where he was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany, prior to returning to the United States. They met in person and started dating.
Abe was one of the local service personnel adopted by VFW Lee Marts Post # 3571. The Post and Auxiliary members have been very active sending letters, cards and packages to the troops.
He is grateful for the support, stating, “I want to say thanks while paying tribute to the VFW and all the people here at home who prayed for me.
“Without them and without God I would not be where I am today.”