U.S. Army Sgt. Jesse Brucker will be back home in Acampo in about a month from now after serving 16 months in the eastern mountains of Afghanistan.
His family in Acampo is relieved that Brucker survived his tour of duty unharmed, but he'll forever endure the scars of several friends being killed in Afghanistan.
Brucker is spending his final days of duty with the 10th Mountain Division headquartered at Fort Drum, N.Y., about 100 miles north of Syracuse and 30 miles from the Canadian border. He received a hero's welcome during a brief visit to Acampo in July.
Brucker headed a 39-member rifle team in the steep Afghan mountains, where they relied on donations of basic necessities from back home - such as personal hygiene items, snacks and warm-weather items - according to his mother Candy Brucker. Friends and churches from Lodi, Woodbridge, Acampo and Galt shipped dozens of boxes of items to Brucker and his platoon.
During a recent welcome home celebration, Brucker received a special certificate of congressional recognition from Galt Vice Mayor Andrew Meredith, who is also commander of Galt's Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Ernie Giuseponi of the Galt VFW.
A 1995 Galt High graduate, Brucker also received a personal letter from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a photograph from Gary Sinise of the "CSI: New York" television series.
Brucker is scheduled to be discharged on Sept. 9, but he will spend about two weeks crossing the United States to visit families of the soldiers he knew who were killed in Afghanistan, Candy Brucker said.
Jesse Brucker plans on a career in law enforcement, his mother said.