White Sulphur welcomes Captain Tucker Palmatier home from deployment

By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV

At dusk on Wednesday evening, Captain Tucker Palmatier returned from a year-long deployment in Iraq. He rolled back into White Sulphur Springs, surrounded by his wife, Rebecca, and their two daughters, when he saw flashing lights and fire trucks on the interstate overpass just outside town. 

Since he serves on the White Sulphur Fire Department, he knew they were in an unusual place in a strange formation and asked, “I wonder if they’re dealing with a fire?” 

She told him, “It’s for you, welcome home!” 

Captain Palmatier serves with the Army National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq and Syria for the first time from 2018-2019. He says it has become a second home to him. 

“I’ve gotten to grow and respect and love the people,” he shares. “There’s so much history in that part of the world. You’re standing in a place someone stood in 3,000 years ago. Bringing stability in the region is something we can strive for but it’s an overwhelming task.”

After his initial deployment, the Palmatier family was looking for a forever home. “During COVID,” he remembers, “we drove around the country and looked at property in diff places.”

“We got to West Virginia, and this was home,” he says. “We knew it almost instantly. We were led here.” 

They bought land in 2020, moved here in 2021, and then Palmatier was deployed again in 2022. He works in “Cyber and Electro-Magnetic Activities,” or CEMA for short. This deployment, Captain Palmatier received the Bronze Star Medal for his service. 

Palmatier pays attention to details, even learning the local customs and languages of the places where he serves. “You can get really far with being able to say thank you or please in someone’s language!” 

As he drove back into White Sulphur Springs on Wednesday night, he felt relief…and excitement. Relief to be home safely. Excitement for a fresh start. 

“I don’t even have a West Virginia driver’s license yet,” he jokes. “Didn’t need one in Iraq.” 

In addition to his buddies from the fire department–yes, he volunteers there as well–he was welcomed home by flags, signs, and patriotic displays throughout the downtown area. 

“We’ve lived in a lot of places,” says Captain Tucker Palmatier, Army National Guard. “There’s not another town in the country that would do this.” 

He has big plans for his family’s future in Greenbrier County. Palmatier works remotely for Cengage Learning leading a team of computer engineers, he and his wife are building the White Sulphur Springs Church of God, he belongs to Greenbrier Grotto (a caving club), and they will be building their “forever home” on the property they purchased in 2020. 

“Rebecca would send me pics of the girls playing in Howard’s Creek,” he says. “Seeing them get to live a better life here is 100% what I was looking for.”

Palmatier says coming home to White Sulphur is like starting a new life, and he couldn’t be any happier. “All of West Virginia feels like the country’s largest national park. It’s one big outdoor adventure!”


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