Marine remembers beginning of war in Iraq 15 years later

Sergeant Jason Thomas deployed to Iraq in 2003 and was stationed overseas for one year.

Monday, March 19 marked the 15-year anniversary of the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Then-president George W. Bush argued the vulnerability of the United States following the attacks of September 11, 2001 combined with Iraq's alleged continued possession and manufacture of weapons of mass destruction made Iraq a renewed priority. The allegation of Iraq's possession and manufacturing of weapons of mass destruction was proven to be false.

Jefferson City Marine Sergeant Jason Thomas remembered how the effort in Iraq began 15 years later.

"I finished active duty in the 1990's, but when the war started I wanted to get back in. I deployed for a year. For me not fighting would have been like training for the Super Bowl, but then not going to the big game," Sgt. Thomas said.

Thomas returned a year later in 2004 to be home with his family. He said he could not believe it has been 15 years since the start of the war.

"I can't believe it's been 15 years. It feels like yesterday, but most of the guys I know from over there are retired so that just goes to show how long it's been," Thomas said.

Thomas said he joined the Marines because his father was also a Marine.

"Someone has to do it. Someone has to protect our country," he said.

After his return to the states, Sgt. Thomas joined the Jefferson City Police Department. He said his service in the military influenced his decision to become a police officer.

"I joined the Marines to protect people, but I came home to be with my family. I joined the police department because if I got to be home with my family and there was a way to protect people still I wanted to do that," Sgt. Thomas said.

Sgt. Thomas began his job at the Jefferson City Police Department 12 years ago and is a traffic officer and SWAT team sniper.

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