A civilian employee of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Conchas Lake will be heading to Iraq on Sunday, and she is proud to say she volunteered to do it.
“I thought about it for quite a while,” said De De Pacheco of Tucumcari. “And it’s something I want to do.”Pacheco said she wasn’t a soldier “or anything like that. I work in administration here (Conchas Lake), and that’s what I’ll be doing in Baghdad.” The 43-year-old Tucumcari woman said she would be stationed at Camp Victory in Baghdad which will be replacing what is currently called the “Green Zone.”
“My job will be to support the war mission,” said Pacheco about why she volunteered. “They (recruiters from the Corps of Engineers seeking civilian volunteers) came out and asked for volunteers, and I thought about it and then decided I would do it.”
The Tucumcari native said there were many good reasons for going. The most notable was, she said, supporting the troops, but she also pointed out the pay she will be receiving was quite good also. She said she will be receiving “premium” pay which will include holiday, overseas, overtime, night-time and hazardous and dangerous duty pay to name just some of the compensation she will be taking in. Pacheco said she will be leaving her husband behind, but he is very supportive. “When I first told him,” said Pacheco. “I think he thought I was crazy, I’m not really sure he liked the idea. But now he is really supporting my decision. I’ve got a lot of good support about this. I really have.”
The 1979 graduate of Tucumcari High School said as of this moment she is planning on serving in Iraq for just four months, but she has the option of staying longer if she decides to, “and there are better incentives for a longer tour.”
Pacheco will leave Sunday and going to Fort Bliss, Texas where she will spend a week in processing and preparing for deployment. She said that is where she will be issued all her necessary equipment and her uniforms.
“But I will not be issued any weapon. I’ll let the military do that part,” said Pacheco.