Tucumcari Marine heads back to Iraq

By TV Hagenah

Tucumcari Marine Sgt. Collin Barry has already had one tour of Iraq. Still, he is looking forward to heading back for a second tour to that Middle Eastern country in the not too distant future.

“It’s what we (the U.S. Marines) do, “ said Barry about once again going into a potentially deadly dangerous situation in Iraq.

Danger in Iraq, however, is no stranger to the 1999 Tucumcari High School graduate. As a member of a Marine Reconn unit, his responsibility is to go into enemy areas before any other allied forces.

“We go behind enemy lines to gather intelligence,” said Barry. “We have to learn what our side needs to know and if necessary ‘take out’ special targets.”

In fact, the son of Phillip and April Barry of Tucumcari was one of the first members of the military into Iraq and during the war itself was often behind enemy lines.

At one time he led a foot patrol that placed him and his team behind enemy lines for 11 straight days, the longest of any such patrol of the war.

Barry, the husband of Tucumcari native Elizabeth Cahill Barry, said the action he saw was quite a bit different than any that has happened since he left at the end of the overt hostilities.

“The Marines are an attacking force, the only one the military really has and now, well, they (the U.S. Army) are doing police work and that’s different,” said Barry. “You see, the Army are peace keepers. We are trained to search out the bad guys. The Army is not trained for that. They’re not as offensive minded.”

His unit’s new assignment in Iraq, however, looks to be a bit less attack oriented than it was during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While not at liberty to say when his unit would be leaving or exactly what they would be doing, Barry said it would seem to be urban based.

“We are being trained in urban warfare and urban assault,” said Barry. “Clearly it won’t be like last time, but I don’t think we’ll be doing police work. We’ll still be going after the bad guys. That’s our job.”

Barry’s parents said they are proud of their son although predictably worried every time he goes on assignment.
“We were both so happy when he came home safe,” said Phillip Barry about his son.

The older Barry said he was also proud of the route in life that his son has taken.

“My wife and I are so proud of him,” said Phillip Barry of his son. “I am very proud of the way he sees his obligation to protect the liberty of everyone.”

Barry said that while he is looking forward to doing the job he was trained for once again, he feels the support from Tucumcari for him and other area military personnel has always been a pleasure.

“I just wanted to thank Tucumcari for all their support and tell them it’s really appreciated. It’s important to know people are behind you.”

While excited to be returning to the site of action, Barry said he hopes his unit has the same success as in Iraqi Freedom.

“I just hope everyone comes back.”