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Vietnam veteran, 53, called to active duty

Can you feel the draft? This man has not seen combat in 30 years when he was in Vietnam. And he’s going to Iraq.

Paul Dunlap, 53, of Pleasant Unity, will leave for Fort Bliss, Texas, on Monday after being called up as part of Operation Dragoon.

Dunlap, a first sergeant in the Army National Guard Company C 28th Signal Battalion out of Torrance, Westmoreland County, hasn’t been in combat since he was a 19-year-old Marine and served 11 months in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971.

I’m thinking I’m going to be away for at least a year from my family and my grandchildren (and) friends,” Dunlap told the Tribune-Review of Greensburg in a story published Wednesday. “I’m thinking it’s been a long time since I’ve been in war.”

Dunlap, a machinist, found out about his call-up at work in November.

Dunlap will spend about two weeks at Fort Bliss before linking with the 1st-103rd Armor in Kuwait. He is a signal systems specialist and his unit will likely handle radio retransmissions and fix equipment.

He will leave behind his wife, Mary Dunlap, four children and three grandchildren.

“I know I can handle it. I’ll have days when it’s going to be a long day and you’ll be thinking home,” Dunlap said. “I’m more worried about how they’ll be dealing with it because they can’t visually see what I’m doing or where I’m at or if I’m OK. I think it’s going to be tougher on them than it is on me.”

Mary Dunlap, said that the couple’s 19-year old son, Timothy James, doesn’t want his father to go to Iraq.

“He prayed and prayed that (his father) wouldn’t pass his physical, just like the rest of us,” she said.

She said that although her husband has been a soldier since she met him, “there’s a part of me that wonders, at 53 is he going to be up to doing what he needs to do over there?”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding