Iraqi Translator Finds Home On Homefront

Wednesday, December 3rd 2008, 10:19 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, News On 6

UNDATED -- An Iraqi man who put his life on the line to help the U.S. military has found his way to the homefront.

Todd Baker was an Iraqi interpreter alongside U.S. forces in Iraq. Making a home on U.S. soil has always been his dream and now he's living it in Tulsa.

In Baghdad he was Omar, a student who grew up watching American movies and dreaming of life in the United States.

"I always wanted, I always dream to come here because it was a dream for me through the movies," said Baker.

Living under Saddam Hussein's regime, Omar felt he would never live his life to its fullest in Iraq. Then coalition forces invaded, toppling Hussein's regime, and Omar found hope.

"I know that they helping Iraq, they helping people and I sought to support them and support the country also," said Baker.

Omar got a full time job as a translator for the U.S. military. His marine comrades quickly adopted him, re-naming him Todd Baker, the name he goes by now.

Baker began translating during dangerous patrols and raids where translators were sometimes targeted. He lost several friends.

"I believed in what I did and um, it's worth it, of course," said Baker.

Soon Baker began working for high-ranking officers, translating major meetings for Colonels, Sheiks and Iraqi military leaders. He even helped translate for then Presidential candidate John McCain.

"So I felt very comfortable. I really enjoyed my job and I appreciate that confidence," said Baker.

Then, armed with battalions of American friends, Baker decided to make his dream come true. Staff Sergeant Kyle Provencher and Corporal Brian Cripps of the Reserve Tow company in Broken Arrow helped him realize it.

Provencher agreed to sponsor Baker so he could move to the United States. He says having him here is new experience for everyone.

"You know things that we take for granted to have him see or do, or go out and experience is really fun. It's amazing," said Sgt. Provencher.

And Cripps has opened his home to Baker as a roommate.

"He's done so much for us. I mean it's, I guess you could say like, it'd be an understatement to say it's just a courtesy to let him stay here," said Corporal Cripps.

And now that he's here, living out his American dream, Baker says he loves it and he can't wait to see more.

"I want to go to Hollywood," said Baker with a laugh.

Baker is now waiting for his green card. He wants to buy a car and drive all over the country to see his buddies. In the future he says he may actually join the U.S. military.