Neal Freeland

Engineering/marketing manager, family guy. My personal blog with a few work thoughts mixed in.

Bill is Back from Iraq

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My friend Bill Cohen is back from Iraq, where he served 18 months as a civilian contract engineer in the Army’s Rapid Equipping Force (REF). Bill and I met in the summer of 1992 at the Unviersity of Oslo. I was finishing my master’s in sociology prior to getting my commission in the navy, and Bill was taking a short break from his doctorate in engineering. We were both taking a class called "Peace Studies," which was part of a unqiue program sponsored by the Norweigan government that brought together people from all over the world. We spent that summer traveling throughout the country with our international classmates, hiking in the forested mountains just outside Oslo, and drinking outrageously priced beer. It was an interesting time: the Soviet Union had just collapsed and the world seemed on the verge of a new era of opportunity. I remember how excited my Latvian roomate was to cast aside his mandatory Russian language courses and instead practice English with me.
Once Bill finished his dissertation he joined the faculty at the University of New Zealand. He spent all of his free time hiking the peaks in the area, where he eventually discovered that he wanted to put his talents to use in business rather than academia. So he returned to the Bay Area and joined an engineering firm called Exponent, which provided support to the Army. Still single, he heard the call and volunteered for a 6 month tour in Iraq, which he extended twice for a total of 18 months.
You’re a good citizen, Bill.
Here’s a shot of Bill at Thanksgiving dinner in Baghdad.

Written by nealfreeland

December 28, 2005 at 12:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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