Local soldier returns from Afghanistan tourPublished 10:36am Thursday, July 17, 2014
Nine months may not seem like a long period of time for most.
For MSG Ricky Beck, who has spent the past nine months roughly 7,500 away from his family and friends on tour in Afghanistan, it can seem like an eternity.
But Beck’s time paid off for him and two other Crenshaw County servicemen—Beck, alongside Master Sergeant Jimyy Ray Oliver and Sergeant First Class Michael Sport, were awarded the Bronze Star for their outstanding service in Afghanistan.
Aside from seeing his loved ones, there was one clear item at the top of Beck’s priority list upon reentering the United States.
“The first thing I did when I got to Fort Hood was I got me a steak,” Beck said.
“They served them over there, but they’re paper thin. Other than that, it was just rest. All I needed was rest.”
It was a well-earned rest following the nine-month stint as a key member of the base closure assistance and mobile container assistance teams.
Since November of last year, Beck has been tasked with a number of roles, including finding property on Afghan soil and determining whether it belonged to the United States government or turned over to Afghanistan instead.
Fortunately, his most recent tour abroad had at least one thing going for it.
“The weather and everything was great—we couldn’t ask for anything better,” Beck said.
“In the summertime in Bagram, the temperature was probably in the high 90s. We were pretty much in central Afghanistan, about 30 miles north of Kabul. North and South Afghanistan are pretty hot, but it was pretty nice where we were at.”
The Afghanistan tour marked the third visit to the Middle East for Beck, who also previously spent time in Kuwait and Iraq as well.
Despite the time and experience gained, being away from home for extended periods of time is something he’ll never get used to.
“I’m not going to say it gets easier,” Beck added.
“It’s the job I took. I’m in it for the career and the flag—whatever it takes.”
December will mark 34 years of service. Retirement is not totally out of the question, but he doesn’t plan to waste any time thinking ahead in the coming days.
His first duty back home is to enjoy the present.
“Hmm… I’m debating, I’ll leave it at that,” Beck joked.
“But my plan or the next couple of days is just to enjoy my family.”