My Last Tour: Temple Heads Home
|SMSgt. Rex Temple poses with two Afghan children who received paper and pens from his school supplies drive.|
After almost a year in Afghanistan, Tampa airman Rex Temple is on his way home. His departure was delayed a few days by the upheaval in Kyrgyzstan, which halted military flights to a U.S. base there.
But Temple sent word Thursday afternoon that he’s out of Afghanistan.
“It’s been a long year,” Temple said. “I’ve done a lot of traveling. I’ve met a lot of people. And, we’ve done a lot of things.”
He’s experienced so much in last year that Temple wants to return to the United States and take time before he reflects on his last tour in Afghanistan. Right now, he’s experiencing a seesaw of emotions.
“On one hand, I wish I could have done more,” Temple said. “And then on the other hand, I’m ready to go. I’m ready to come home. I’m ready to come back to the United States and be with my wife.”
This concludes the Tampa airman’s tenth overseas tour and fourth assignment to the Middle East region. He plans to retire in the coming year.
“One of my goals is to finish my master's degree before I retire,” Temple said.
Returning home will be a joyous occasion. However, it will also be a time of adjustment for Temple who has spent nearly a year living behind barbed wire and barricades and driving roads wary of hidden explosives.
“What I’m really looking forward to is freedom to really do what I want,” Temple said. “Freedom to cook, freedom to drive my car and not have to worry about these threats.”
Temple said he’s not sure how he will react once he gets home. But he expects to be able to ease back into his routine in Tampa.
“I don’t think it will be a problem, but I just never know. While you’re here it’s a high-ops tempo and every time you drive outside the wire, you have to be ready.”
He’s now ready for some private time with his wife and his two dogs, Charlie and Sam.
Senior Master Sgt. Temple has been checking in with WUSF during his year-long deployment. He lands in Tampa sometime next week and we'll bring you his reunion with family and friends.
In the meantime, you can hear all of our conversations on the special news page My Last Tour.
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