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Marine readies for 4th Iraq tour

Sgt. Doug Osborn, 27, has already earned a Purple Heart
MUNCIE -- A Purple Heart recipient from Delaware County has volunteered to return to Iraq for his fourth deployment there.


By NICK WERNER • nwerner@muncie.gannett.com • September 23, 2009

Sgt. Doug Osborn, 27, leaves today for Camp Pendleton in California for a month of preparation and last-minute training before heading overseas with the 3rd Battalion 24th Marines.
"Since I was part of the beginning, I want to see how the country has changed and what our sacrifices have done for the country," Osborn told The Star Press on Tuesday. "I want to see for myself firsthand that we've done some good."
Osborn, a 2000 Delta High School grad, first deployed to Iraq in 2003, suffering shrapnel wounds in his left arm from a grenade blast during combat near Al Kut. The injury earned Osborn a Purple Heart.
Osborn returned in 2004, fighting in the first battle of Fallujah, and again in 2005, training Iraqi police and Iraqi armed forces.
He left the Marines full-time in 2006 but joined the Marine Reserves in 2007, seeking out a Terre Haute company that he knew would be deployed.
Since returning home he has worked in lawn care and home remodeling.
"After three deployments, I just wanted to come home and take a break," he said. "Once I was back home, I just kind of got bored again."
Osborn is limited in what he can say about his upcoming deployment, except that he will be serving in Anbar province again for seven months.
Delaware County Veteran Affairs Officer Jerry Griffis tipped The Star Press to Osborn's deployment.
"I've heard of two and even three," Griffis said. "Four seems like a lot."
Griffis said he was unaware of other veterans in Delaware County who had served four deployments in the War on Terror, though he noted others may exist.
Jerry Newberry, communications director for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said serving four deployments is not as unusual as many civilians or older veterans like himself might think.
In his reporting for a radio show and Web blog, Newberry has encountered many soldiers who have deployed four times and at least one serviceman who had volunteered for a fifth deployment.
"I can't even remember how many who stepped up to the plate time and time again," he said.
Information on how many servicemen and women had deployed four times or more in the War on Terror was unavailable Tuesday.
Osborn joined the Marine Corps after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
As a teenager learning about U.S. history, he had promised himself he would join the military if the nation ever came under attack.
He still has two pieces of shrapnel in his arm from his 2003 injury.