Local Gilroy man visits family before returning to Iraq
Gilroy – Vacations for some people are about getting out of town, having fun or searching for adventure. But for Jonathan Esposito, his two-week vacation brought him home to Gilroy to spend time with his family.
As his two-week break from the army comes to an end, he is spending the last few precious moments with his parents, his wife Angela and his daughter Amber before he returns to Iraq, where he has been deployed since January 2004.
“From my point of view, it’s easy to come back and get into it,” Esposito said. “I try not to dwell on [Iraq].”
“It’s great having him home,” his mother said when he first got back. “My daughter [in-law] and I, we keep really busy, to keep ourselves occupied so we don’t have to think about him being over there.”
Esposito admitted that he also tries to keep himself busy while he is in Iraq so he doesn’t worry about his family.
“There are a lot of times, when I first get there, I’m constantly calling and I hang up thinking, ‘Why am I here?’ ” he said. “But you learn to compartmentalize.”
While home, Esposito and his family have taken a few short day trips, but have mostly focused on enjoying their time together. They took a trip to Shasta, where they stayed in a railroad car since Esposito is a railroad buff.
He also tried to spend some time alone with his wife.
He said he mostly thinks about his family during his “down time,” when he looks through photo albums Angela put together for him.
When his deployment ends in March 2006, Esposito plans to leave active duty and return to the reserves so he can get what he called a normal job.
“I’m trying to apply for the California Highway Patrol and become an officer,” he said. “My wife and I are looking to stay in the local area.”
In the meantime, he will be returning to his post as a staff sergeant where he said his troop works day to day combat patrol. According to Esposito, the patrol includes searching roadways for what he called improvised explosive devices, or bombs. He also brings in people for questioning whom the army believes may be involved in the insurgency.
Esposito started out in the army as part of the Army National Guard in 1995, a year before he graduated from Gilroy High School. He signed up for active duty in 1997 and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. While visiting Nashville, Tenn., during his time off, he met his wife Angela. The two married before Esposito deployed to Korea for a year.
While Esposito is overseas Angela and Amber are staying with his parents in Gilroy.
“She’s staying with them until I return,” he said.
His mother admits it was hard to let her only child go, but he had long been interested in the military as a member of the Navy Sea Cadets and the Explorer Scouts when he was younger.
“We’ve always been supportive of everything he wants to do,” she said. “He’s very independent and that’s the way we wanted it.”