Drury returns from Iraq – family to leave Philip for post in New Jersey

The Drury family is excited to be united again. They are leaving Philip for Nick’s new post of Fort Dix, New Jersey. Nick Drury just returned from a six-month deployment in Iraq. Pictured are Heidi and Nick in the back row, and daughters McKennah and Meghan in front. The family is expecting a third child in March. Heidi, McKennah and Meghan lived in Philip near family and friends while Nick was deployed. Family and friends wish them well and will keep in touch.

Nick Drury arrived home from Iraq this last weekend. Heidi, his wife, had gone to meet him at Fort Dix in New Jersey, and family and friends were waiting for them in Philip ... so were flags and a welcome home banner in the front yard.

Nick has to report back to his post in New Jersey. The family will be moving with him on February 10, in order to get settled into post housing by his report date of February 20. The Drurys have two daughters; six-year-old McKennah and four-year-old Meghan. Heidi and Nick are expecting a third child in March.

Seven and a half years ago Nick had joined the Army for, “the adventure, excitement, and to serve a purpose greater than myself.” Both he and Heidi (Smith) were raised in Philip and graduated from Philip High School; Nick in 1996 and Heidi in 1995.

Since his enlistment in 1996, he moved up in rank from an E-1 to an E-5 infantry. He then got out of the Army, but joined ROTC at the School of Mines and Technology. In 2003, Nick rejoined the Army and was commissioned as an ordinance officer, “which deals with maintanence and logistical things,” said Nick. He was then selected to attend an Explosives Ordinance Disposal (EOD) unit.

“Basically, our unit was involved in disposing of all road-side bombs in the Mosul area,” said Drury. “EOD units are the only ones, other than special forces, to serve six-month tours rather than 12-month tours in Iraq.”

The Drurys lived in Germany for three years and have seen most of Europe, especially Czechoslovakia and Hungary. “Probably the best part of the military is the traveling,” said both Heidi and Nick.

While Nick was in Iraq, the rest of the family has been in Philip. They moved all their furnishings and most of their other belongings from his last post in Florida to Fort Dix just before he was deployed to Iraq. “Everything is in Fort Dix. Everything here is borrowed,” said Heidi. Both of their families still live in the Philip area. “We just came home for the fun,” they said half-joking. After commenting on how good family and “the home town thing” is, Nick turned serious, “I knew that my family would be taken care of in Philip. It’s a small community and people take care of each other.”

Heidi has been working for Pizza Etc. in Philip for the last six months or so, while Nick was in Iraq. Heidi’s employer, Lynn Hanson of Pizza Etc. is happy for Heidi, but is sorry to see her go. “It doesn’t take long to learn Heidi is always pleasant and cheerful. We already miss her here at work,” said Hanson.

The Drurys will probably be stationed at Fort Dix for at least the next two years. “I’ll be a stay-at-home mom,” said Heidi. “I’ll have a new baby and both of the girls will be in school. I plan on helping with the family support system on post. Then, we haven’t really decided if we will keep going in the military or will get out,” said both, gently acknowledging the “we” as an important aspect of their plans.

The family’s new mailing address will be 135 West 8th Street, Fort Dix, New Jersey 08640.