As of June 2005, Wade Vakulick was an Instructor for the Oklahoma College of Construction (OCC) . In August of the same year, he was appointed Chief Instructor. A year later…he was in Iraq.
In July of 2006, Wade was contacted by his Air National Guard unit. They notified him that he was to be involuntarily activated to assist in Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom. He was in Iraq for 6 months.
Wade’s duty in Iraq was construction equipment operator, as well as project superintendent of the U.S. Army Iraqi Theater of Operations construction projects on COB Speicher. Before his deployment in Iraq Wade was activated in October of 2006, spent four weeks at Ft. McCoy in Wisconsin to do combat training, and then was deployed to Kuwait.
It was difficult for Wade to be away from his home and family for those 6 months, as it is for all who serve overseas. He also was concerned about what would happen with this job while he was gone. When he learned that he would be able to have his job at the OCC when he returned, he wanted to do something special for NAHETS to show appreciation for its support of him being in Iraq. In all sincerity he said:
“I wanted to bring something back for NAHETS from Iraq that would truly be an honor to hang on the wall, not just the normal little trinkets that one can purchase at the Base Exchange. I am truly grateful for Matt and the others at NAHETS for understanding my situation and as a result, NAHETS helped to contribute to the freedom and security of the United States of America and the Iraqi people.”
While Wade was serving on Coalition Operating Base (COB) near Tikrit, Iraq, he was able to purchase an American Flag. He gave this flag to the Apache Attack Helicopter Squadron “Blue Wolves”, 25 Infantry Division Aviation Brigade. The Blue Wolves had the highest kill ratio of any attack helicopter squadron in Iraq. The Blue Wolves were able to fly the flag in an AH-64D Apache helicopter on an actual combat mission over the skies of Iraq especially for NAHETS. Regarding the event Wade said that “This flag is a one of a kind tribute to a one of a kind company. The flag is a thank you for the support that was shown to my family and me by NAHETS during my 8 months away from work.
Now Wade is back from Iraq and serving as the Business Relations Director for the Oklahoma College of Construction. The OCC is a member college of NAHETS-The National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools.