Warmbold's Military Career: 'Rewarding and Worthwhile'
Warmbold ‘90 and his wife, Annie, on their wedding day.
Lt. Col. Richard Warmbold II '90 manages troops in Iraq while his wife, Annie Medford, waits for him in Utah.
“The unsung heroes of this war are the folks on the home front surviving without us and putting their lives on hold until we can return,” says Warmbold.
Warmbold was engaged during his last deployment two years ago and was married last spring before shipping out for Iraq. It was a special ceremony, taking place atop the Deer Valley Ski Resort where Warmbold and his wife work.
“Marriage has brought stability to my life and strength while away from home,” he says. “I actually think being over here is harder on loved ones at home. Not only are they picking up the things the significant other used to do, but they are wondering and worried about what we are doing.”
Warmbold has been involved in the Marines since his freshman year at Alma College when he joined the reserves. He always had been interested in the military. As a history major, the study of politics and warfare attracted him to the career.
Upon graduation Warmbold was commissioned on the steps of Alma’s Dunning Memorial Chapel. He spent four years on active duty before transitioning back to the reserves in 1994, when he began working at Disneyland until his move to Utah in 1999. He found himself back on active duty in 2002 when he was mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom and deployed to the Middle East to coordinate the air war.
“I may not have the active duty retirement to look forward to in five years if I had stayed on full time, but the career I have so far has been very rewarding and worthwhile,” he says.
Lt. Col. Richard Warmbold II (center) receives a silver oak leaf during a promotion ceremony in Baghdad.
“I am now working in the Divisions operations section in Iraq, and will be expanding those duties as the situation develops,” he says regarding the push for Iraqi forces to take control of their country so that coalition forces can scale back their involvement. Previously, Warmbold was in charge of a battalion advisor team of 10 Americans and 700 Iraqi soldiers before joining the staff to advise 12 battalions and 10,000 Iraqis.
“I miss the Iraqi battalion and the advisor team I had been leading, but I’m focused on the new challenges of helping a division staff take charge of their own area; a truly historical moment when that occurs.”
“Being in a war zone does give you a lot of time to reflect; family, friends, past events and dreams of the future all get intertwined. I will say I have thought back to my times at Alma College and realize how lucky I was to get the education and make the friendships that have endured. I just wish I could get a Sam’s delivered and attend another MJJ lecture,” he says, referring to Pizza Sam’s and the late M.J.J. Smith, Reid-Knox Professor Emeritus of History.
Warmbold is scheduled to arrive in the United States in late February and looks forward to returning to his family and the ski slopes of Utah.
– Renee Pietila '08