WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Retired Sgt. Brandon Paredes was supposed to be a mechanic during his tours in the Middle East. But, like many, Paredes says he needed to, “Stand in the gap,” and before he knew it, he was a part of the infantry.
“We had been there for 20 years, but someone had to stand in the gap,” Parades explained.
Paredes served for a decade in the US Army, including two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Brandon’s wife, Julie Paredes says their daughter would ask,”‘Mom, is daddy ever going to come home? What’s he doing over there?’ And I would always look at her and tell her, ‘Daddy is over there making sure that other little kids are safe.”
In 2010, an IED explosion forced him into medical retirement due to a severe spinal injury, some doctors told him that he should not have survived.
“I came home wanting to further my career. Just do better for myself, be home,” added Paredes. “But because of my injuries, the Army said, ‘You’re good. You’re done.'”
Paredes says when he saw the news of the withdrawal, he initially questioned if the injuries he sustained were all for nothing.
Paredes said, “At first I did have that, it’s all for nothing. But now, I see that it’s kind of inspiring me that people want to know.”
Our full interview with Paredes is included below.
At Wichita State history professor Dr. Laila Ballout is already preparing on how to teach her students about the Afghanistan crisis.
“Most of our students were either toddlers or not even born yet when the war in Afghanistan began,” she explained. “They want to know, not only that it was a fight against terrorism, but also, why were we there for so long.”