Emotional, physical pain aside, no regrets from one Midlands Ira - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Emotional, physical pain aside, no regrets from one Midlands Iraq vet

Dave Peacock is just one of hundreds of Iraq vets in the Midlands. Dave Peacock is just one of hundreds of Iraq vets in the Midlands.

It has been nearly 10 years since the start of the Iraq War. Then-President George W. Bush called on military forces to invade the nation from under the threat of Saddam Hussein.

Although there is no official estimate, the UN says tens-of-thousands of people have been disfigured for life in the fighting in Iraq and countless of others killed.

You don't have to look far to find someone scarred by Iraq. If you went over, you likely came back changed. Dave Peacock knows more than most.

Diamond the service dog is one positive thing Peacock took from his time overseas. But he lost even more.

Peacock joined the Air Force Reserve in the early 90's, taking part in the first Gulf War. Operation Iraqi Freedom proved to be wholly different.

"I don't think anyone can go to Iraq or Afghanistan and not come home changed," said Peacock.

Peacock's emotional price went beyond himself. It wrecked his first marriage.

"I think third deployment is when I get divorced. Then, of course, I went right back out. Fourth, fifth, sixth, then just lost count."

It became his life. As a paramedic, he'd fly the injured out of harm and into hospitals. He saw just about every kind of injury war can inflict, knowing many of his patients would never see home again.

"You know their chances are low, but you do everything you can to give them a greater chance of survival," said Peacock.

Peacock left with a broken family, TBI, PTSD, a surgically-repaired shoulder, and unimaginable memories seered into his brain. Still, he says it was worth it.

"It's a small price to pay for freedom in the world," said Peacock. "To allow those to believe what they want to believe, and to allow a mother and father not have to worry about their child being shot, executed, or even going to school."

Peacock says the war is not about the ideal or why you're there or what you're doing.

"It's the idea of taking care of each other," said Peacock. "Accomplishing the mission you're given and making sure everyone comes home safe."

Even if those men and women have made it home, many have years of recovery ahead of them. Peacock volunteers with Hidden Wounds in Columbia, trying to help his brothers in arms regain some kind of normal lives.

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