PAULDING — Payne resident and Marine Corps veteran Jonathon Lichty, 38, has no regrets about the four years he spent serving his country, including time spent in Iraq as a part of Operation Iraqi Freedom II (in 2004) and III (in 2005-06).
“We were basically over there to stop weapons of mass destruction and bring peace to Iraq,” said Lichty from his office at Paulding County Veterans Services. “There’s always unrest over there.”
Joining the Marine Corps in 2002, Lichty admitted to feeling concern when he realized he was going to be spending part of his time with the Marine Corps in the Middle East. “Of course, you’re going to be anxious,” he said. “But we had to go over and do our job.”
As an infantryman and lance corporal, Lichty spent much of his time running combat patrols and looking for such things as “weapons caches, things of that nature,” he noted.
He admits to seeing his fair share of action overseas, displaying a wry sense of irony regarding two separate incidents during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. “I was wounded on June 18, 2004, and August 7, 2004,” he said. “Aug. 7 is National Purple Heart Day. I found that out after I became a veterans service officer.”
There were, he said, a few more times when he thought the end was near, but it was never enough to discourage him from doing his job. “We just kept on,” he noted.
Ultimately, when his time with the Marine Corps ended, Lichty looks back with some satisfaction regarding his time overseas. “Yeah, I believe we did (some good),” he said.
The last time he left the Middle East, he said, was in 2006. Understandably, he knows very little about any lasting changes there as a result of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but he said he would have gone back a third time if asked.
“Oh yeah, I’d do it again,” he said.
“I have no regrets about being there, but I do not recommend it for a vacation.”