McKinney firefighters back from Afghanistan
Dan Eakin/Staff Photo - McKinney firefighters Dane Crocker, left, and Scott Barnett, both of whom recently served in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, were introduced to McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller, right, at a recent city council meeting. Loughmiller thanked the men for their service to the country.
Two members of the McKinney Fire Department were recognized and honored at a recent city council meeting for lengthy service in the U.S. Army, including recent deployments to Afghanistan.
Scott Barnett and Dane Crocker have both been in the U.S. Army for several years and have served in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world.
Barnett spent eight months last year in Afghanistan and was away from home for 11 months. He was previously twice deployed to Iraq. His first deployment to Iraq was for 14 months and his second for 11 months.
"I have served as a military police officer," he said. "My most recent deployment was in civil affairs, to work with locals and help train their police, firefighters and military.
"I also served in the National Capitol Region in support of the Noble Eagle for two years."
Operation Noble Eagle was the mobilization of thousands of National Guard and Army Reserve personnel.
Barnett and his wife of 16 years have three children. He has been a member of the MFD for about 14 years.
"I am glad to be home and am hoping to catch up as a MFD firefighter," he said.
Crocker has been in the U.S. Army for 32 years. He has been mobilized three times, including two stateside during which he trained soldiers about IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and other explosives.
Last year, in Afghanistan, he was the non-commission officer in charge (NCOIC) of a team called ITAG (Infrastructure Training and Advisory Group).
"We were part of the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan (NTMA)," he said. "The ITAG mission was to train and advise members of the Afghan Department of Public Works on how to maintain the Afghan bases that were built by the U.S. for the Afghan army."
He said ITAG had teams in all regions of Afghanistan.
"My job was to help insure that my teams had everything they needed to do the mission, and to travel to each location for visits with the teams on the ground."
Crocker said he specializes in construction engineering in the Army.
He said he found most of the people of Afghanistan to be friendly and very grateful for the presence of U.S. troops in their country.
Crocker, the father of three grown children, said, "The city of McKinney has been wonderful to me and my family. The city continued to provide my insurance while I was in Afghanistan."
Crocker said he expects to retire from the Army soon, but he must work five more years with the MFD before he gets in 20 years to be able to retire as a McKinney firefighter.