Colorado legislator wraps up fourth tour of duty in Iraq |

Colorado legislator wraps up fourth tour of duty in Iraq

Lynn Bartels
The Denver Post
Colorado Representative Joe Rice hangs Christmas decorations with his wife, Kendall Rice outside their Littleton, Colo. Saturday 12/12/09. Rice came home recently from his fourth tour from Iraq. (SPECIAL TO THE POST/ MATT MCCLAIN)

Col. Joe Rice this week will officially end what has simultaneously been his easiest and most difficult tour of duty yet in Iraq.

Easiest, because he was only there six months and security issues had greatly improved.

Toughest, because it was the Littleton resident’s fourth deployment to Iraq.

His twins, Harrison and Lexie, were 2 when he first shipped out in 2003. Now they’re old enough to understand casualty reports on the news.

They have reminded their dad several times he missed their 9th birthday in October, and their brother Dalton’s 4th birthday in July.

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“I care about Iraq. It’s important,” Rice said. “Still, I’d go out and have great days and I’d come back to the base and think, ‘I just can’t do this anymore.’

“It was just hard. Maybe I’m getting a little burnt out.”

Rice, a 42-year-old Democrat first elected as a state representative in 2006, has been with the U.S. Army Reserve since 2000. He previously served with the Colorado National Guard and in the Army. He had been home from Bosnia for only four months before he left for Iraq the first time.

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