Soldier was deployed to Iraq in October 2006

Ofelia Garcia Hunter, Alice Echo-News Journal

Spec. Nathan Springs, 20, is visiting family after arriving back home from Iraq last week and said surviving day in and out in the Middle East is a difficult task.

"One of my buddies died right before I left," Springs said. "I'm really glad to be home, over there every day I'm thinking 'I'm going to die today.'

"You have to prepare yourself for the worse. It's a scary feeling, but you get through it."

Springs is in the 1st-501 Division Airborne Infantry stationed out of Fort Richardson near Anchorage, Alaska. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 14, 2004, after graduating from Alice High School in May 2004.

He was deployed to Iraq in October 2006.

"We helped aid the Iraqis and helped them focus in keeping their country in control," he said.

Springs said one of the first things he did when he arrived in Alice was enjoy the dining pleasures of the city.

"I went to Chili's, we don't have any beer (in Iraq), I got here and all of the restaurants - it was awesome being back and feeling out of harm's way," Springs said.

His mother, Dawn Springs, didn't know about Springs' visit back home and was surprised when he arrived last week.

"I started screaming and crying," she said. "I thought he was coming home (later)."

Springs has a twin sister and two younger brothers. One of his brothers is currently training in the armed forces. His parents are Dawn Springs and the late Jeff Springs.

Spec. Springs said after serving in the Army for four years, he plans on going into law enforcement.

"I would like to get into the SWAT team in Corpus Christi," he said.

He said he has already received the training for a Special Weapons and Tactics unit.

He is scheduled to return to Iraq on Feb. 3.

"It just makes a mother…for her son not to go back," Dawn Springs said. "We just want to make sure he is OK."