As he tells the story, his head is on a swivel. He looks around as if he’s lost something. With various verbal pauses and clicks of his tongue, he seems distracted, as if he could be doing something more important than reminiscing about the past.
“It probably wasn’t very smart, but I had to fix him up,” said Oklahoma City native Staff Sgt. Patrick Wire, explaining how he went into the open kill zone to help the injured soldier.
Wire said he did not consider his own safety. The only thing running through his mind was the safety of his fellow team members and Afghan National Army soldiers.
Since recruit training, Marines are told that they are riflemen; no matter what a Marine’s specialty is, he or she is a warrior first. Wire embraced the idea and sought to fulfill it.
Since he was young, Wire wanted more out of life. Indecisive about his plans, he found himself working toward an empty future. He says he wanted to be a trash man until he was about 10. During his high school years, he even thought he wanted to be an oceanographer. After high school, he worked as a delivery boy and at a restaurant, but he felt it was not enough for him.
"I didn't see any direction in my life,” he said. “The Marine Corps sounded like something I could use as a launching pad.”
In January 2001, Wire enrolled in the delayed entry program and enlisted as a small computer systems specialist. He did not expect to see any combat. He left for recruit training in November, just two months after the 9/11 terrorist attack. Within three months of arriving to his first duty station with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., he was deployed to Iraq. He did it again a year and a half later.
“We didn’t see much action except when we were traveling back to Al Taqaddum,” Wire said.
He admitted he was not satisfied with his first two deployments, and yearned for more action, so he volunteered in 2007 to serve in Afghanistan as an individual augment with an embedded training team, responsible for training ANA soldiers.
“As a Marine you don’t really have an opportunity to use all the training you get unless you’re grunt or in a special situation,” Wire said. “I felt it would be a good opportunity to use those skills.”
He spent six months preparing for the deployment, attending courses in weapons tactics, patrolling, combat life saving, close-quarters combat, cold weather operations, and Pashtu and Urdu, two of the common languages in Afghanistan.
He remembers many of the events during the deployment; some more than others. He says a standout was an ambush his team encountered after passing through a village.
“We were in a town talking to the locals and asking them if they needed anything; helping out with what we could,” Wire said. “We were walking out of the village getting ready to go back. We decided to take an alternate route this time. There are valleys and draws all over the place in Afghanistan. There was this valley we walked through… and we headed toward a wooded area to get more concealment,” he said, drawing the picture with hand gestures. “As we were working our way into the woods, insurgents opened up on us. We just scattered.”
Because of the terrain, it was difficult for the team to see anything but tracer rounds coming toward their direction, Wire said. Suddenly, he heard someone yelling “Wire we got an ANA soldier down.” He looked over and saw a bloody soldier. He ran over, laid him down and began to treat him.
“He had two shots; one was on his right forearm with blood gushing out. I put a tourniquet there and did all the steps to assessing a wound. Once I got that main wound closed up, we got him to some cover, and I treated the other arm, which wasn’t as bad,” he added.
“You don’t even think about the dangers,” Wire said. “All the training kicks in and just takes action.”
For this encounter he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, and he received a Navy Achievement Medal with a ‘V’ for valor for his actions throughout the deployment, during which he and his team encountered several firefights.
After serving in Afghanistan, Wire received orders here to 9th Marine Corps District, Kansas City, Mo., in 2009, where he met his new wife Warrant Officer Stephanie Wire, who now serves with the Marine Band in Twentynine Palms, Calif.
“We met making small talk, and after constant exposure to each other in the office, we realized we have a lot in common,” said Stephanie. “I think we realized this the first time we went out for coffee.”
He wanted to experience combat in defense of his country but now he’s satisfied to focus on his education and spend time with his wife.
“I did that for a while and it was a great experience,” he said. “Now I just want to go back to what I was doing.”
He proved to himself that even though he specializes in network systems management, he can still pick up a rifle and lead in combat.
He enjoys doing what he does. Currently attending the Cisco Certified Network Associate/Data Chief course, Wire said he looks forward to the future.
“I want to become a warrant officer,” he said. “I just want to further myself in my career and education.”