Many local soldiers have shipped out for Iraq during the last four years, and now Niagara County's first political family is going through that experience.
Andrew A. Broderick, the son of County Treasurer David S. Broderick and the nephew of County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr., is heading for the war zone Tuesday.
Broderick, 27, was recently promoted from first lieutenant to captain in the Marine Corps. He's a helicopter pilot and flies the CH-53 Super Stallion.
"We're a heavy lift aircraft. You'll fly over a pair of Humvees and pick them up," Broderick said by telephone last week from North Carolina, where he's waiting to ship out with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Kearsarge, an aircraft carrier.
The CH-53 can also be used in close support of infantry fighting on the ground, Broderick said.
It's his first time being sent overseas after eight years in the Marines.
"Finally getting into the fight," he said. "I've been looking forward to it. I couldn't imagine being in the Marine Corps for however long I'm going to be in without lending a hand."
The Kearsarge is headed for the Persian Gulf area. Broderick said he hasn't been told officially that he's going to Iraq. He could be based in neighboring Kuwait.
"A lot of times you get word, and the word changes," he said. "I don't want to assume."
But the copter pilot said that once in the region, a deployment in Iraq is "the next logical step."
Broderick graduated from Lewiston-Porter High School in 1998 and earned an English degree at the University at Buffalo in 2002. But he joined the Marine Corps Reserve in his freshman year in college, spending his summer vacation in boot camp at Parris Island, S.C.
"It was something I wanted to do since I was 14, just watching that guy on TV [in Marines commercials]. I wanted to go in the Marines," he said.
After a platoon leaders' course at UB and an assignment to Officer Candidate School, Broderick signed a six-year contract as a helicopter pilot in August 2005.
Broderick's father was in the Marines from 1957 to 1959. Four of Broderick's uncles and several cousins also have served, with two of the cousins already having done tours of duty in Iraq.
Broderick's tour is scheduled for six months, but he said, "We can always get extended."
"Of course we're concerned," said his mother, Jane Broderick. "With the state of the world today and all these crazy people running around, I'm concerned for all the men and women over there."
David Broderick said, "We do have some concerns, but we're confident in Andrew. He's got a good head on his shoulders, and he's got a lot of good training from the Marine Corps."
Andrew recently became engaged to Amy Adriaansen of Rochester, whom he met while she was attending Niagara University.
Andrew said there hasn't been a lot of debate about the war at home. "I've never heard my father say anything bad about the war. It's the Republican in him. I'm much the same way."