Soldiers don’t crave war, but when it comes, the best of us say, “Send me.” Jeff Dirkse is one such soldier. My last mission in Iraq with him was an air assault on a village suspected of harboring high-value targets. It was to be a night time raid. What I remember is not the mission; it was anti-climactic. What sticks out is that our evacuation zone was “hot” – meaning we could still draw enemy fire. When I climbed aboard the helicopter, I kept my eyes on Jeff. He was the last one on. He would not board the relative safety of the aircraft until every soldier was accounted for. He remained in the open and exposed until everyone else was safe.
War changes us. It is an inevitable byproduct of combat. It reveals who we really are in extreme circumstances. Jeff’s time as a soldier, officer and Army Ranger molded him into the driven man of character he is today. If the people of Stanislaus County elect Jeff as their sheriff, he will protect, serve and relentlessly bring those who seek to cause harm to justice. This is who Jeff Dirkse is.
Rustin Curry, Sacramento