HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Marcus Mackey is a Huntsville veteran who has enjoyed working for the Army in a number of ways.
He was wounded on a dangerous mission in Iraq and now, he’s continuing to serve his country by helping strengthen U.S. partnerships all over the globe.
Mackey recognizes that the Rocket City knows how to treat the brave men and women who have served their country, like he has.
"I think Huntsville does a great job of supporting its veterans," he said.
And the retired Sergeant First Class has enjoyed building a life in Madison County with his wife and kids.
“I’ve been married to my wife Britt Mackey, for 20 years. We have two kids, Meghan and Joshua. Megan is a senior at Huntsville High School. She’s in the band and plays softball. She will attend the University of Alabama next year. Josh Mackey is a freshman at Huntsville High School and plays baseball,” Mackey stated.
They've lived in Huntsville for six years. Mackey retired in 2012 out of Fort Riley, Kansas. During his military career, he was stationed from Fort Polk, Louisiana to Stavanger, Norway to Baghdad, Iraq. He deployed five times- three trips to Iraq, one to Somalia, one to Bosnia.
Mackey was a transportation specialist in the Army. He was in Iraq in 2004, on a mission to pick up some equipment and he remembers what happened next like it was yesterday.
“We got hit in an ambush and five of us got hurt. One of us was killed in action... He was from Maryland. I took some shrapnel. It went into my side. They had to cut it out of me there in Baghdad,” Mackey stated.
He received a Purple Heart and an Army Commendation Medal with valor. But he’s humble about his induction into the Hall of Heroes.
Every year, the Madison County Heritage Commission inducts six new members into the Hall of Heroes. The veterans have all received awards for valor.
“It’s an honor. I feel like there’s many more people more deserving than myself,” Mackey said.
He’s proud to be part of the group of servicemen and servicewomen who served in Iraq and Afghanistan- a younger generation of veterans.
"It’s great that people are starting to recognize the service that the young men and women are doing from OEF and OIF and whatever contingencies that they are out there fighting for the American people," Mackey added.
Mackey now works on Redstone Arsenal at USASAC headquarters, which is the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command– “The Army’s Face to the World”, implements Army security assistance programs, including Foreign Military Sales of defense articles and services to eligible foreign governments.
USASAC leads the AMC Security Assistance Enterprise; develops and manages security assistance programs and foreign military sales cases to build partner capacity, support COCOM engagement strategies and strengthen U.S. Global partnerships.
"It’s nice because while a civilian now, I’m still being able to contribute to our war fighters out there and building partner capacity in the sense that we’re allowing our partners to have the capability to where maybe in the end, they can be on the battlefield to fight their fight, thus reducing the need for U.S. troops and our brothers and sisters here from America," he said.
Mackey has lived in and traveled to more than 30 countries during his career and he summed it all up.
"The biggest thing that I come away with is that everybody, no matter where you’re from or what you believe in, everyone wants to just be left alone, raise their kids and live their lives," he explained.
Mackey still deals with PTSD, and acknowledges that while there's no cure, there are ways for veterans to get help. He did a three-week program at The Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2008.
“What it provided me with was a tool bag where if I find myself in a situation, I can go in there and pull some of those tools out and get through whatever the situation could be,” he said.
Through the work he does on Redstone Arsenal, Mackey continues to make a difference for his country.
“I enjoy what I do. I get to interact with people from all over the world,” he stated.