Faces From the Front for March 30, 2009 - Pfc. Robert Edwards
Current Unit: Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Multi-National Division
Current Position: Combat Medic
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: Saline, Mich.
Years of Service: 2
In his former life as an executive sous chef, Pfc. Robert Edwards was known for his skill and precision in creating culinary works of art. Having worked his way up the ranks of two of Detroit's five-star restaurants, Edwards was positioned to be quite successful in the restaurant business.
But as a newlywed and first time father, Edwards wanted a more stable life for his wife and daughter. So despite his love for the profession, he hung up his apron and put on a pair of combat boots to enlist in the Army.
"I joined to serve my country and support my family," he said. "I know it is a sacrifice, but I know they are being taken care of by the Army."
Edwards said although his first deployment has been fast-paced since arriving in Iraq last December, he loves what he is doing. He said the best part of his deployment is helping the Iraqi people with their medical needs.
"I love to make a difference in the daily lives of the Iraqi people," he said. "During my time here, I have been able to treat several Iraqis, and we recently donated some medical supplies to a local area hospital. We also donated some toys to an Iraqi school. Doing things like that really make this deployment special."
Edwards comes from a strong military linage. His grandfather was an Army Air Corps glider pilot during World War II and served during the invasion of Normandy. His brother served in the Marine Corps and his cousin recently joined the Marines and is preparing for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
Edwards added that although he is away from home, his fellow Paratroopers in Iraq are like a second family to him.
"Being deployed makes you thankful for everything you have," he said. "The experiences I have had here is something I will never forget."
Edwards is scheduled to return home to his wife and daughter in Saline, Mich. in the winter of 2009. He plans to take advantage of his Army benefits to pursue a degree.