Walter "Skip" Brown had the message of freedom to carry and the know-how to implement it in Iraq, but recent events have changed his mission.
Now, he can support the soldiers and civilians held hostage only by keeping track of them on TV.
The assistant superintendent of student services for the Paradise Valley Unified School District had been hired as director of a training center to teach democracy to new Iraqi leaders.
But fighting near Fallujah has put his new job on hold indefinitely.
He has promised the school district, which had been poised to hire an interim director to cover what would have been a six-month stint, that he will stay put for at least 18 months.
"I’m not going right now with no rescheduled date in the future," he said. "I was totally pumped, ready to go."
That means a handful of painful injections given to him just days before he was supposed to leave may have been for naught.
With war on the upswing and safety in question, he said money was diverted to combat and security operations. He said he wasn’t too concerned about his own safety — he would have been in the heart of Baghdad, which is considered among the safest places to be in Iraq, and under U.S. control.
However, his wife, Gena, has mixed emotions after watching the news of an American and several other civilians held hostage on missions similar to Brown’s.
"It was a terrific honor," Skip Brown said. "There are some real dynamite men and women over there doing some great work."