Truckee CHP officer returns from Iraq
2003 was a difficult year for the Jacobs family.
It was a little more than one year ago that Jerry “Jake” Jacobs, a reservist with the U.S. Army, left his job as a Truckee CHP officer and his family – Clea, a nurse at Tahoe Forest Hospital, and their son Connor, 5 at the time – for the Middle East.
But, now he’s back, and he said it feels “fantastic.”
“When you sleep in a tent in the desert every night, and you come back to snow-covered mountains – it’s unbelievable,” he said.
Jerry returned from his tour as a military police officer in mid-January. Since then, he has returned to his job as a CHP officer with a new post in Sacramento.
More importantly, he said, he has returned to his family.
“I think I was pretty dedicated to my job before leaving,” Jerry said. “I’ve tried to focus more on my family and day-to-day happiness. You live minute to minute so much over there (in Iraq).”
He said his unit was shot at frequently “but not nightly,” as it led convoys from Kuwait to southern Iraq and sometimes on to Baghdad.
“It was very tough at times,” Clea said of her husband’s absence during his deployment. “People were really supportive. I think anyone who had opinions about the war – they’d find out about my husband and they were really good about it.”
“I’m really grateful to all the people who supported my family while I was gone. We had a lot of local support,” he said, adding that he is especially grateful for his orthodontist, Dr. David Wang, who gave him braces before deployment.
After an article about Jacobs’ deployment appeared in the March 6, 2003, Sierra Sun, the family was approached by various news outlets for interviews. They got calls from CNN, the BBC and Newsweek, but they only appeared in a segment on a Sacramento news station.
“It was crazy,” Clea said.
During the year while Jerry was gone, Clea could talk to him on the phone regularly. There were times, however, when she would go one week without contact with Jerry.
“The hard part about that is that you’d hear about people dying over there on the news – and you start to worry,” she said.
2003 was a tough year for the Jacobs family, but ask Jerry what he wants from 2004, and he has a list:
“I want to spend as much time with my family as possible. I want to try and make up for all the holidays I missed. I think we’re going to celebrate all the holidays two times. And, I will never go back to a desert.”
To read more about the Jacobs family and Jerry’s deployment, check out the archives at http://www.sierrasun.com.