February 2, 2011 – Stephen Hickman
DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - Command Sgt. Major Stephen Hickman is just back from his third tour of duty in the Middle East, a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He remembers most the elections in Iraq and how proud the Iraqi people were when they were allowed to vote in a democratic election.
"Some of these people had to walk 25 miles to the voting polls," said Hickman. "That was a great thing. They let you know that they really wanted to see their country do good. On my recent deployment, I got to see all the good that the U.S. Military had done."
Hickman received a Bronze Star in 2004 when his vehicle was struck by an IED. He led his patrol in suppressing the enemy, repelling an attack without any casualties. He says his experience in the guard has taught him a lot.
"I think it teaches discipline and responsibility. I benefited from those things. I'm a more disciplined person and more responsible than prior to joining National Guard."
Returning home, he felt nothing but support from Americans who greeted him.
"When you land in Dallas and you go through customs and you open the door, there is a walkway. There are 2 or 300 people standing there welcoming you back. Veterans from a hundred to a baby. It's such a great feeling. It literally brings tears to your eyes."
Now a Shift Supervisor at Ampacet, Stephen Hickman says he has gotten nothing but support from his Beauregard parish employer.