- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 6, 2005

Pair likely to see

duty in Mideast

BRUNSWICK, Md. — While the Army struggles nationally to meet its recruiting goals during this time of war, two brothers from Brunswick have been called to serve and say they will do so proudly.

Gary and Danny Strakonsky anticipate they will be deployed to the Middle East. While Gary Strakonsky, 20, already knows when he’ll be leaving, Danny Strakonsky, 19, said his orders are not yet specific.

Gary Strakonsky works as a combat engineer and is stationed at Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks, Alaska. He has completed deployment and joint readiness training at Louisiana’s Fort Polk and plans to leave this month for Iraq.

“We’ll be working to clear minefields, sweeping mines and doing demolition somewhere in the north” in Iraq, he said.

Gary Strakonsky, a 2002 graduate of Brunswick High School, said leaving behind his wife, Candice, who is pregnant, will make his deployment difficult. The baby is due in December. He may get to come home when the baby is born, but he is not certain.

“She just wants a normal life and doesn’t want me to go,” he said, adding that his wife will be staying with his parents, Gary and Agnes Strakonsky of Brunswick, after he is sent overseas.

Danny Strakonsky said he had not given much thought to joining the military until he saw how much good it did for his brother. He completed basic training last year, only a few months after graduating from high school, and works as a supply specialist with the 1007th Maintenance Company of the Army Reserve in Hagerstown, Md.

He has been told he will be sent next month to mobilization training at Fort Bliss in Texas, where he expects to be assigned to a unit. The assignment will likely let him know more about where he’ll be sent and how long he’ll have to stay.

The brothers said they worry more about their parents’ concern for them than for their own safety.

“The Army’s really prepared us well to go,” Gary Strakonsky said. “I’m just trying to get my head straight and keep it clear so I don’t do anything to mess up over there.”

Said Danny: “I got to do it. I’m just trying to be positive about it. That’s all you can really do, just go over there and do my job and come back home.”

Before he was called up, he had discussed his future with an ROTC recruiter and pondered a career in criminal justice. Now he’ll think about all of that when he returns.

“A lot’s changed since then,” he said.

Their father, Gary Strakonsky Sr., said he and his wife could not be prouder of their boys.

“What they’ll do there will keep us free over here,” he said. “I don’t want to sit up at night thinking about making funeral arrangements, but I imagine I’ll be watching the news a lot, seeing what’s going on over there.”

He said that, of course, he and his wife will worry about their sons’ safety, but he has absolute faith they’ll return home safe and sound.

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