Jason Goldsmith of Powell is a 37-year-old Iraq War veteran who was part of the U.S. Army's 660th Transportation Company based in Zanesville.
Goldsmith enlisted in 2000.
At the time, he said, he couldn't envision participating in a war scenario.
"When I initially joined, I -- not in the wildest dreams -- would I have thought that I would be deployed to a combat zone," he said. "I mean it did cross my mind, but it was just such a far-off scenario. We were nine years from Desert Storm, so you tend to take that current data and project it forward, like it's going to happen forever."
Goldsmith's company was mobilized in 2003 and went to Kuwait that December, several months after the March 20 "Shock and Awe" campaign in which U.S. and coalition forces had launched nearly 1,700 air attacks against Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's regime and soon after Hussein's capture in December.
His company crossed into Iraq in January 2004.
Goldsmith, who was stationed at the Logistics Support Area Anaconda near Balad, was injured one evening in April 2004 as a result of a land-mine explosion during a convoy mission.
He recalled waking up that morning, April 9, feeling different, "somewhat unexplainable."
It was the same day an American fuel convoy from the 13th Corps Support Command had come under attack near Baghdad International Airport, he said.
Most units had been ordered to stay off the roads because of known ambushes, he said, but his unit was ordered to mobilize because it was responsible for hauling "very sensitive, very important" materials toward Fallujah.
Goldsmith said towns along the route were unusually quiet -- towns in which families and children typically were active and playing.
"Nothing," he said. "So you kinda knew something was going to happen."
He was near Haditha when the ambush occurred.
"After the initial explosion, I was the lead gunner in the convoy. We were later hit with mortars," he said.
A fellow soldier protected him by lying on him while his vest was off and comrades were attending to him.
Goldsmith sustained injuries to his ankle, knee, head and face and returned to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (now Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) in Washington, D.C.
Goldsmith, a Purple Heart recipient, said the healing process was difficult while he was at Walter Reed, adding that he had mixed feelings.
"While it was good to be stateside, I was in a hospital while my unit was still overseas in harm's way," he said. "I felt as if I had let my unit down."
In addition to the Purple Heart, Goldsmith's decorations include the Combat Action Badge, the Army Commendation Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Medal.
Goldsmith was born and raised in Zanesville and graduated from Philo High School in 1999 before attending college first at Ohio State and then earning his bachelor's degree in finance from DePaul University in 2013 and his master's in financial planning in 2018.
He and his wife, Mindy, have two sons: Spencer, 4, and Reece, 2.
Goldsmith works as a financial adviser with Ascend Advisory Group in Dublin.
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