Bomb wounds area reservist
To his family, U.S. Air Force Technical Sgt. Ed Rossovich Jr.’s military-grade toughness made him the perfect fit for driving supply convoys through Iraqi streets pocked with well-hidden homemade bombs.
“He’s a survivor,” Rossovich’s brother Dan said Friday, one day after his older brother escaped serious injury when a roadside bomb exploded near the supply truck Ed Rossovich was driving south of Baghdad, leaving him with multiple lacerations to his face.
Rossovich, 41, an Alta Sierra resident and a reservist assigned to the 940th Air Refueling Wing at Beale Air Force Base, had been in the Persian Gulf region since March, working for the U.S. Army as a supply truck driver. His family said he was recovering from his injuries and doing well.
“He sounds like he’s in good spirits,” said his mother, Joann. “He sounds like all of them over there. He wants to come home.”
Ed Rossovich joined the Air Force reserves two years ago after serving for 11 years as an active member of the U.S. Marine Corps. He works in the Nevada Irrigation District’s purchasing department.
Family members said his wife of three years, Diane, was taking the news hard. Ed Rossovich Jr.’s son, Stephen, 18, who lives in Kalispell, Mont., had also been notified of his father’s injuries, which are not considered life-threatening.
Ed Rossovich Jr. graduated from Nevada Union High School in 1980 and joined the Marine Corps a few years after graduation. Dan Rossovich said his older brother carries with him a countenance honed from his earliest days in the military.
“He’s still a Marine at heart,” said Dan Rossovich, 34, who joined his family in spending $300 on eBay for two bulletproof vests for Ed Rossovich before he shipped out, including one he wore Thursday during the bomb blast.
“He’s one of those guys that never leaves you behind. This was something he believed in and something he wanted to do,” Dan Rossovich said.
“There’s no gray area with him. It’s either right or it’s wrong.”
In recent conversations with their son and brother, both Dan and Joann Rossovich said, Ed was beginning to question the value of the war in Iraq.
“I think he left with high hopes of rebuilding the country,” said Joann Rossovich, whose deceased husband, Ed Rossovich Sr., served in the Marine Corps for three years, beginning just as the Korean War was ending.
“Now, I think he just hopes of getting home safe,” she said, peering at page after page of photos from her son’s points of call during his time in Iraq.
Daily, Joann Rossovich reads the war coverage in The Washington Post and The New York Times, and her television Friday was tuned to one of the 24-hour cable news stations.
To date, she’s seen no coverage of her son’s accident.
Joann Rossovich said she worries about her son’s spirits after seeing footage of increasingly militant Iraqi insurgents on television, reading her son’s letters and hearing his tone on the phone. Her younger son worries, too.
There’s a poem Joann Rossovich wrote in April, based on the conversations she’s had with her son and the war.
She writes of her son’s feelings of taking food with strangers, of cold showers and times with no friends.
The care packages of phone cards, beef jerky, insect repellent and Clive Cussler adventure novels are a welcome sight, she said.
The family feels now it’s just time for Ed Rossovich Jr. to return to full-time civilian life, which could happen this fall, if not sooner.
“I’d just like him to come home,” Dan Rossovich said, “and be able to retire.”
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