With the United States wrapping things up in Iraq, some men and women in the military are already making their way back to the states, including Ohio.
Sergeant Alan Kleimeyer of the United States Army made his return to Clermont County at the end of November, and the Glen Este High School graduate was recognized by Clermont County Commissioners during their Dec. 14 session.
“We’re pulling out of Iraq so I got to come home, so that is nice,” Sgt. Kleimeyer said. “My family was especially happy I got to come home early.”
Sgt. Kleimeyer said he moved to Clermont County when he was 5-years-old. He graduated from Glen Este in 1997 and received his associate degree from the University of Cincinnati Clermont. He joined the army in 2002.
Sgt. Kleimeyer was deployed to Iraq in April of this year, and it was his first deployment. He served in Iraq as a financial manager, and he was in charge of payroll and making sure all of the soldiers received their paychecks.
And while Sgt. Kleimeyer said he spent most of his time in a secure facility, and knew what he was getting into when he was deployed, he said he grew accustomed to frequent attacks on the base.
“These guys know our calendar,” he said. “If it was a holiday you knew you were getting hit.”
He said he remembers attacks on Memorial Day the Fourth of July and more. He said they began to expect it.
While in Iraq, he also frequently received care packages. He said family, friends, and community members sent packages when he was away, mostly with treats. He said people from the county were constantly checking in to see if he needed anything.
“They were nice in that you know someone is thinking about you,” Sgt. Kleimeyer said about the packages.
And while he said he appreciated the support from those back home, he also said support for the families of soldiers is just as important.
“It’s really harder, I think, for the people back home than it is for us,” Sgt. Kleimeyer said.
He said for those serving, they are able to focus on the job they have to do, while family members back home are the ones who worry about what is going on.
Tracy Braden, president of The Thank You Foundation, was able to relate to this, as her son, Matt, is currently serving in Iraq. She spoke about the importance of community support groups during the commissioners’ session and also thanked Sgt. Kleimeyer for his service to the country.
“From a mom’s perspective, support from this community is very strong,” she said. “Thank you so much for your service. It is very much appreciated.”
Sheriff Tim Rodenberg and Frank Morrow of the Clermont County Veterans’ Service Commission also thanked Sgt. Kleimeyer and presented him with challenge coins. Gertrud Whitaker was also present to thank Sgt. Kleimeyer on behalf of congresswoman Jean Schmidt.
Sgt. Kleimeyer said now that he is home he will be spending time with his wife Erin and three children, Alex, 15, Jacob, 9, and Lilly, 6. He also plans to attend the University of Cincinnati to obtain his bachelor’s degree.
He said he was not expecting to be recognized for his service.
“It was really a big surprise,” Sgt. Kleimeyer said. “I didn’t expect even half of this.”