Nevada guardsman to share experiences from Iraqi missions

Though he says his missions in Iraq were boring most of the time, Nevada Army National Guard member Ben Pesis said it did get scary every once in a while.

Pesis, 26, a 2000 graduate of Carson High School, will share his experiences of serving missions in Iraq in a slide show at 6:30 tonight at St. Paul's Lutheran Family Church.

Pesis said he wants to give the presentation to help inform the public.

"There are a lot of people with a lot of questions," he said. "Hopefully this will put some of those questions in the right perspective.

"It's hard to convey being scared - knowing your life is in danger and you might never see your loved ones again.

"I was lucky to experience it without any injuries.

"I was in the motor platoon with Lima Troop with the 221st Cavalry out of Nevada. They're the only combat arms unit in the state.

"We were based out of Kuwait, but all our missions were in Iraq."

Pesis was deployed from July 2006 to July 2007. He decided to put his experiences into a slide show after talking with the congregation at St. Paul's, where his father, Stan Pesis, is the priest.

"This show will be about my personal experience," Ben Pesis said. "I talked with the congregation first because the church is my family.

"They are like my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. They wanted to hear my story and this story is completely subjective. The first part of this story is about what we (troops) did and why. I've been in Carson City since I was 3 years old."

Pesis enlisted in the Guard in February 2004. He is attending University of Nevada, Reno as an English major with an emphasis on language and linguistics. He said he has a knack for languages and it's also like a family tradition. He wants to work into translation.

"The second part of the show I will answer questions, as most honestly as I can, but not politically. These are my own opinions and own analysis and not that of the U.S. military.

"It's about what I saw and what I think, Iraq in general and at large, about the situation."

Ben is the son of Stan Pesis and Ruth Hanusa. He has one brother, Jono, and one sister, Rachel.

Ben's father said he has seen very little of Ben's material and will be at the show. He said it was very hard for him to deal with his son being in Iraq.

"You enter a place, where ... I left him with God. I knew I was out of control and couldn't influence anything.

"Handling this will be much easier now that he's home, safely," Rev. Pesis said. "The psychological truth is like the end of a carnival ride, you don't have to be frightened any longer, the ride's over."

Pesis is also impressed with the bonds his son has formed with his fellow guardsmen.

"The friendships are very tight," he said. "Literally, your life is in their hands, and theirs in yours. The bonds are very strong and that has continued even upon their return home."

Stan Pesis is also pleased with the follow up by the Veterans Administration affairs office in Reno.

"They've taken real responsibility for their returning soldiers. They ask about their mental well being as well as physical well being, which was rarely done with any preceding veterans of war."

• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at or 881-1223.

If you go

WHO: Ben Pesis, Nevada Army National Guardsman

WHAT: Slide show of deployment

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. today

WHERE: St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 1201 N. Saliman Road

COST: Free

CALL: 882-3020


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