CAMP PHOENIX, Afghanistan — As the U.S. Army prepared to invade Iraq in 2003, Joseph Vamper had been out of the service for six months. He had served several years on active duty before enlisting in the National Guard as a way to pay for college. His enlistment ended in 2002.
But Vamper was still on the little-known Inactive Ready Reserve — a pool of former soldiers the Army can draw from several years after the soldiers have completed their enlistments — and was called to duty as the Army built up forces for the invasion.
Vamper served with the 3rd Infantry Division, a tank division that led the American assault into Baghdad. When faced with the prospect of being called back again after the end of the deployment, Vamper re-enlisted.
“I was going to get pulled back anyway,” he said.
Vamper returned to Iraq with the 48th Brigade in 2005 and deployed again in March to Afghanistan.
Sgt. 1st Class Vamper, 40, is now the provost marshal for Camp Phoenix, overseeing the law and order operations for the installation. For example, if a theft is reported on the camp, Vamper oversees the investigation.
The position is usually handled by a senior officer. Vamper took over the position when the former provost marshal was reassigned.
“I had to step up and assume the responsibility,” Vamper said.
The work is not unlike the work he does in Macon. Vamper is a homicide detective for the Macon Police Department. Vamper is set to return home for his mid-tour leave at the end of the month. His plans center on his 2-year-old son, Amire.