Local Army Honors those that served before him.

This was in one of the local papers recently. My cousin’s husband honored those who served before him. Good job Phillip thanks for fighting for our freedom come home safe.

Honored U.S. soldier hails vets

Proberta native previously served from 1986 to 1992

By Tim Hearden (Contact)
Sunday, February 24, 2008

LOCAL HERO: Tehama County Supervisor George Russell hands a proclamation to Army Spc. Phillip Heil during a recent meeting.

Photo by Tim Hearden / Record Searchlight

LOCAL HERO: Tehama County Supervisor George Russell hands a proclamation to Army Spc. Phillip Heil during a recent meeting.

Army Spc. Phillip Heil became a little emotional recently when paying tribute to the veterans who served before him.

“If it weren’t for them serving, I wouldn’t be having the chance to serve,” said Heil, a Proberta native who’s been stationed in Iraq since August.

Heil honored his comrades during a visit home earlier this month as he was recognized by the Tehama County Board of Supervisors.

For Heil, the chance to serve his country overseas was actually the second chapter of his military career. The 42-year-old former truck driver first entered the Army in 1986 and left in 1992.

The former National Guardsman re-enlisted in the military full time in 2006 because he was attracted by the retirement benefits, he said. He had no qualms about ending up in Iraq, he said.

Heil is a vehicle mechanic stationed at LSA Anaconda at the Balad Air Base in northern Iraq. It’s been home to as many as 25,000 troops, and the base serves as a launching point for Air Force missions in support of combat operations into Baghdad, according to the Web site GlobalSecurity.org.

Heil works on his company’s equipment.

“Some days it’s busy, some days it’s slow,” he said.

Anaconda once had the nickname of “Mortaritaville” because of the frequent shelling of the area, but things are rather quiet lately, Heil said.

“It’s improving,” he said of the situation in Iraq. “It’s still going to take time to complete the job.”

Heil said he was flattered to be recognized by county leaders.

“I’m honored for getting the certificate,” he said. “I also look at the job I chose and I enjoy doing it.”

Reporter Tim Hearden can be reached at 529-5110 or at thearden@redding.com. Read his blog at MyRedBluff.com.

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