CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq -- When Chris R. Paroskie was growing up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., he could see Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., from across the road. He would think to himself, ‘One day I’ll be a Marine like that.’ Now in his early twenties, Cpl. Paroskie, an infantry assault man with Weapons Company, 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, has deployed to Iraq twice and recalls why he decided to become a Marine. “After graduating high school, I was going to James Madison University on September 11, 2001 when I was sitting in a computer class and on the computer I saw the two towers burning. I said to myself ‘what am I waiting for?’” explained the 2000 Woodbridge High School graduate. A few months later, Paroskie found himself spending all day in the local Marine recruiter’s office finding out what he wanted to do in the Corps. “While I was in college I started to notice that kids that graduated after me were joining the Marine Corps and I couldn’t take it anymore. It was time to do what I always wanted to do; become a Marine,” Paroskie said. Deciding to become an infantryman, Paroskie left for Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C., June 3, 2002 and started down the path to becoming a Marine. That path led him to An Nasiriyah, Iraq in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom where he first discovered what he was there to do. “Not everyone can say that they fought for their country or for freedom, but during OIF, I realized that we were here to give freedom to people that otherwise would never have it and it is something that I am proud to say I helped do,” he said. After his first deployment to OIF, Paroskie became the Weapons Company clerk and training noncommissioned officer into his second deployment to Iraq, this time to an area about 20 miles from the Iraqi-Syrian boarder, Al Qa’im. Even though Paroskie was on the other side of the country this time he said that he can still see a change in Iraq. “Coming here a second time, I definitely notice a change and I think that things here are getting better. The Iraqi Security Forces are going on more and more operations with us, so they can take control of their country. Also there is more order here now that we’ve been here for a while,” he said. Paroskie believes that there is one main idea that he will bring back with him when he returns from this deployment. “I appreciate everything I have back home now and I don’t think I’ll ever take advantage of it again,” he explained. When he returns home from his second deployment to Iraq, Paroskie will have less than a year on his original four-year contract. He has begun thinking about his future. “I started a re-enlistment package, but I’m thinking about becoming an officer in the Corps. Whatever happens I know that I fulfilled my dream of being a Marine,” he said. Paroskie explains the pride he has in serving his country and helping the Iraqi people. “When this is all over, I’m going to be able to say that I was there. I saw what Iraq was and I’ve seen what it has become and I am proud to have been a part of it,” Paroskie explained.