Douglas County Sheriff's Sgt. Jim Halsey said he wasn't surprised when he was ordered to report for his second deployment to Iraq.
"I know this is an enduring mission for the United States, and probably I would have to do more than one tour," said Halsey, who leaves in mid-month for six weeks of training in Gulfport, Miss.
He expects to leave for Iraq at the end of August for eight months. He served there from May through August in 2003.
"With all the violence, this is going to take a long time," Halsey said. "But I would rather we help now than leave it up to our children."
Halsey is the second Douglas County officer on active duty.
Jail deputy Scott Newton, a 15-year department veteran, is a Naval reserve master at arms at a prison in northern Iraq. He is eligible for rotation back to the United States in October.
Halsey, 43, is a 22-year member of the Naval Reserves, almost the same length of time he's been in law enforcement.
He has been with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office for 12 years, assigned to patrol. Previously, he worked for seven years with Los Angeles County.
He joined the reserves after four years' active duty in the Navy and is a chief warrant officer 4 with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 18.
While it's difficult to leave his wife, Franki, and their three children, Halsey said his family supports his efforts.
"I'm very proud of them," Halsey said. "My wife is able to manage things here at home between my regular job and my reserve duty. She's a great mom and a very good manager while I'm gone. She would never not want me to support the U.S. mission."
Halsey's last day at the sheriff's department was Tuesday. The family plans a trip to Mexico for a few days before he leaves for Mississippi.
He said he is motivated by a sense of duty and pride.
"We're lucky to live in this country. You know the old saying, that any of us could have been born someplace else and not had the opportunities we do. There, but for the grace of God ...."
His battalion's job is to build everything from roadways to water- purification systems for the military and civilians.
"It's very rewarding out in the civilian areas," he said. "We rebuild police stations, schools , hospitals. It's exciting to see the kids get back to school. In Iraq, education is a privilege. It's not like the United States, where we take so much for granted
"The people come up and shake your hand and say thank you. They truly appreciate the fact that now they will have a chance to get an education."
While Seabees are trained to fight and defend, Halsey was fortunate in 2003 that he was never fired upon nor did he have to return fire during his four-month deployment.
"I'm not scared," he said. "We've done all the training and preparation we can. But it's like life. You can't completely tell what's going to happen. But we train the best that we can."
When Halsey's gone, he said his sheriff's office "family" takes over.
That includes Joe and Teresa Duffy, Ron Elges and Bernadette Smith.
"They're really kind of a family for my wife and children while I am gone," he said.