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					                                  June 2008   •

The Official U.S. Army Magazine
SoldierS i june 2008 i VoluMe 63,no. 6

                                         Reserve Firefighters   page 26
                                                                                    Cover Image
                                                                                     Maj. jonathan dunn and his bride, Margaret, pass
                                                                                     under crossed sabers following their wedding at
                                                                                      West Point.
                                                                                      — Photo by Les Howard


                                                                          Preparing for Marriage                                     10
                                                                          Army chaplains strongly urge that military couples planning
                                                                          marriage first seek preparatory counselling from their clergy.

Marriage in the Military                                      4           Honoring Family Support Volunteers                         11
Marriage is a joyous event. It’s also an institution the Army             Family readiness groups provide a range of services for the
works hard to support and foster through a variety of programs.           loved ones of deployed Soldiers.

                                                                          Family Assistance, Italian Style                              14
                                                                          Vicenza, Italy, held the first Europe-based joint services Family
                                                                          Assistance Workshop.

                                                                          Army Family Covenant — Keeping Promises                 22
                                                                          The recent signing of the first Army Family Covenant
                                                                          reinforces the partnership between senior Army leaders,
                                                                          Soldiers and their families.

                                                                          Jalalabad’s “Water Dogs”                                     23
                                                                          Water-purification specialists help quench Soldiers’ thirst in
Strengthening Army Marriages                             12               Afghanistan.
Experts talk about how couples can face, and overcome, the
challenges inherent in military marriages.                                Army Salutes Last Doughboy                                    24
                                                                          The last surviving Army veteran of World War I was
                                                                          honored at a recent Pentagon ceremony.

                                                                          Reserve Firefighters                                          26
                                                                          Reserve Soldiers battle smoke and flames to keep their
                                                                          comrades safe.

                                                                          Honoring the Past, Shaping the Future                         28
                                                                          For 250 years the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle
                                                                          Barracks, Pa., has been educating future leaders.

Down Under Travel Deals                                     20            Twilight Tattoo 2008                                          30
Special programs and unique pricing incentives make it easier             The Old Guard presents an hour-long musical pageant
for Soldiers and their families to explore Australia’s many               honoring the Army and the nation.

departments                                       Army Birthday Message
                                                  On Point
                                                                                             Army News
                                                                                             Focus on People
          MEDIA CENTER
                                                                                                                              The Official
                                                                                                                         U.S. Army Magazine
                                                                                                                 Secretary of the Army: Hon. Pete Geren
                                                                                                                 Chief of Staff: Gen. George W. Casey Jr.
                                                                                                         Chief of Public Affairs: Maj. Gen. Anthony A. Cucolo III

            We Want Your Story
                                                                                                                            Soldiers Media Center
                                                                                                                         Commander: Col. Ricky R. Sims
                                                                                                                    Print Communications Staff
                                                                                                                      Editor in Chief: Gil High
                                                                                                          Soldiers Magazine Managing Editor: Steve Harding
                                                                                                          Soldiers Magazine Senior Editor: Heike Hasenauer
                                                                                                          Soldiers Magazine Writer/Editor: Carrie McLeroy
                                                                                                                          ARNEWS Editor: Gary Sheftick
    The Army is our nation’s greatest resource in defense of our homeland.                                                 ARNEWS Writer: J.D. Leipold
    Every day Soldiers and civilians perform acts of valor. The heroic acts                                               ARNEWS Writer: C. Todd Lopez
    performed on the battlefield and the acts of kindness from humanitarian                                              ARNEWS Writer: Elizabeth Lorge
    efforts demonstrate the strength of the Army. We want to tell your story.                                             Visual Information Staff
    To find out how the Soldiers Media Center can tell your story, contact                                           Graphic Designer: Peggy Frierson
    your unit public affairs officer or send your submissions via e-mail to                                           Graphic Designer: LeRoy Jewell

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2   |
Soldiers • June 2008   |   3
Maj. Jonathan Dunn, an international relations
instructor at the U.S. Military Academy at West
Point, N.Y., and his bride, Margaret, pass under
crossed sabers following their wedding at the
academy’s Chapel of the Holy Trinity.

                                                   Story by Heike Hasenauer

         4   |
                                                                                                             Heike Hasena
                      S couples reminisce about          Aviation Bde. “They’re seeking imme-
                      joining hands, exchanging rings    diate companionship before and after
                      and promising to love, honor       deployment.”
             and cherish one another “until death do         Downey and his wife, Trish, have
             us part,” many can only say sorrowfully,    been married for 15 of his 17 years in
             “We failed.”                                the Army — from the time he was an
                 There’s no guarantee that the words     enlisted Soldier, through advanced          Today many
                                                                                                    years and ha uples marry af ter having
             of the songs played at wedding recep-       military training, to his commission-                   ving children,                liv
                                                                                                    by Rutgers U                  according to ed together for
                                                                                                                 niversity’s N
             tions will ring true for any couple after   ing, and two recent combat tours to                                   ational Marria a report published
                                                                                                                                             ge Project.
             the honeymoon’s over. And the chal-         Afghanistan and Iraq.
             lenge to couples increases when they            “I’m worried about my family when
             face long separations.                      I’m deployed, but when I’m deployed,               Sgt. 1st Class Ernest Rabot of the
                 Chaplain (Maj.) Derrick Riggs, a        the mission has to be my main focus,”          Italy-based 173rd Abn. Bde. Combat
             protestant chaplain and religious-sup-      he said.                                       Team has been married to Joy for 20
             port resource manager at Fort Myer,             That’s why Soldiers depend so              years. He echoes Downey’s sentiments.
             Va., returned from a yearlong deploy-       much on the support available to them              “When I’m deployed, I focus on
             ment to Iraq in November 2007, where        through family readiness groups and            the mission, but when there’s time to
             he served with the 82nd Airborne Divi-      others [see related story]. It’s that sup-     relax a bit, I write my wife all about the
             sion’s 3rd Brigade. “A lot of marriages     port, and the support of other spouses         things I’ve been doing or going through
             were tested there,” he said.                that helps military families cope,             during the deployment.
                 “Marriage will succeed or fail based    Downey said.                                       “The first year or two of marriage
             on everything you do before a deploy-           Deployment, while not easy on a            is very hard,” said Rabot, who was 19
             ment,” Riggs added. “If you have a          family that includes a son and daugh-          when he married his then 21-year-
             strained marriage, the deployment           ter, ages 10 and 13, respectively, didn’t      old wife. Besides frequently having to
             will have a greater adverse impact.         cause any marital problems, Trish              leave her, due to training exercises and
             Absence will only make the heart            said. “I had no feelings of resentment         deployments, living from paycheck to
             grow fonder if you have a strong mar-       when he deployed. I was proud of him.          paycheck was initially challenging, too,
             riage to begin with.”                       And our marriage was very strong               he said.
                 “I don’t think younger Soldiers have    when he left.                                      His suggestions for a successful
             solid expectations of marriage, but,            “What makes it strong is his com-          marriage? “Be honest with each other,
             rather, are driven by emotion,” added       mitment to his family,” she said. “And I       explore each other’s inner feelings and
Les Howard

             Maj. Chris Downey, operations officer       know his family comes first when it can        know what your spouse wants, physi-
             for the 82nd Abn. Div.’s 82nd Combat        come first.”                                   cally and emotionally,” Rabot said.

                                                                                                                                     Soldiers • June 2008   |   5
Heike Ha

                                                                                                                                        couple to
                                                                                                                              ewly wed           r.
                                                                                                             ubbles for this n eir lives togethe
                                                                                             ate a field of b as they begin th
                                                                                     hers cre pass through

                                                                                     “Marriage isn’t for kids, and being
                                                                                 in the Army just makes it harder,”
                                                                                 added Chief Warrant Officer 3 Roy
                                                                                 Melebeck, commander of Headquar-
                                                                                 ters and HQS Company, 173rd ABCT
                                                                                 Rear Detachment. “Too many Soldiers
                                                                                 marry as 18- to 22-year-old kids. Wait.
                                                                                 The Army means long deployments,
                                                                                 long hours when you’re not deployed.
                                                                                 I married as a kid, at 19. My marriage
                                                                                 made it because my wife, who was 26,
                                                                                 was the adult for a while.”
                                                                                     How the spouse who’s left behind
                                                                                 handles long separations also has a lot
                                                                                 to do with the success or failure of a
                                                                                 marriage, Riggs said.
                  Maj. Chris Downey,
                                      with his wife and chi
                  family reunion upon                       ldren,
                                      his return from Afghan celebrates a

                  6   |
                                         for divorce in September 2007, upon
“The first few months after              returning from Iraq, his second deploy-
my husband deployed were                 ment in three and a half years.
                                             “That was it,” Ladisic said of the
miserable,” Samantha said.               state of his marriage after being in Iraq
                                         from January 2005 to February 2006.
   Spec. Chase Windell, another          “My wife and I had grown so far apart.”
member of the 173rd ABCT, deployed           On his first deployment to Afghani-
to Afghanistan soon after his wife,      stan in 2005, Ladisic was a platoon
Samantha, joined him in Bamberg,         sergeant in an 82nd Abn. Div. combat
Germany. The couple’s son was two        platoon. “My wife had friends whose
months old at the time they arrived.     husbands were deployed with me. They
   “The first few months after my        called home when they told their wives
husband deployed were miserable,”        they would. But sometimes I couldn’t
Samantha said. “I wanted to stay home    call because, as a platoon sergeant, I
                                                                                                            and his wife, Lor   raine, enjoy an
the whole time.”                         had duties that came up unexpectedly.        CW3 Roy Melebeck
   Instead, she got involved, spending       “The war had just started, and we        outing to a local restau
time with other women whose hus-         couldn’t call home for four or five days
bands had also deployed, participating   sometimes,” he said. His wife called
in Yoga classes, shopping, supervising   him a liar.                                  seriously. “But I just couldn’t keep pre-
their respective children’s playtime         Nonetheless, he attributes the split     tending that they were important.”
and taking trips together. Samantha      largely to his own “immaturity” and the          Ladisic said matter of factly, “We got
also volunteers as her family readi-     facts that he suffered Post Traumatic        married too young.” He was 18, she, 21.
ness group’s treasurer. Her advice to    Stress Disorder and its subsequent                “It’s hard to fight a war and your
spouses of deployed Soldiers is: “Get    “anger outbursts” and anxiety attacks.       wife at the same time,” Ladisic said.
out there and get involved.”             He could no longer tolerate the long-        “When people asked me, ‘How’s your
   Some spouses have a difficult time    standing fights he and his wife had in       marriage?’ I’d always say, ‘great’ or
doing that.                              front of their young daughter, nor his       ‘terrible.’ It was never really good. Mar-
   Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey Ladisic, a     wife’s attention to what he thought          riage shouldn’t be like that.”
scout with the 194th Armored Bde.’s      were insignificant things.                       Although the couple sought coun-
A Troop, 5th Squadron, 15th Cavalry          “I didn’t have any patience for little   seling, it didn’t help. “We both agreed
Regiment, at Fort Knox, Ky., had been    things,” Ladisic said. For a while he        to things in the counselor’s office that
married for seven years when he filed    pretended to take those little things        didn’t stick for long when we were back

                                                                                                               Soldiers • June 2008       |   7
Heike Hasenauer

                                                               months. That’s not what a 20-year-old
                                                               woman expects when she marries.             “The most important thing
                                                                   And as long as America is fighting        you can do to keep a
                                                               the war on terror, frequent deploy-
                                                               ments will continue, officials said.           marriage healthy is
                                                                   Chaplain (Maj.) Michael King, a             to communicate,”
                                                               marriage and family chaplain at Fort
                                                               Knox, said deployment at his post is in-         Downey added.
                                                               creasing dramatically. The installation,
                                                               formerly primarily a training post, has    still going to happen if you wait. Know
                                                               gained three U.S. Forces Command           yourself before you enter into a lifelong
                                                               units that are deployable.                 commitment.”
                                                                   “Our population is now composed            “The most important thing you
                                                               of 40 percent or more of deployable        can do to keep a marriage healthy is
                                   fe walk down the            Soldiers,” among them members of the       to communicate,” Downey added. “If
                  Husband and wi
                                                               233rd Transportation Co. who have          you’re going to deploy, talk about some
                                                               deployed six times over the past five      of the stressors before, during and after
                  home,” he said. The couple’s divorce         years for six months each time, and        deployment.”
                  was final in February 2008.                  the 19th Engineer Battalion, which             Soldiers who are deployed should
                      He still loves his ex-wife, he said.     recently returned from Iraq.               try to call as much as possible, he
                  “She’s a great mom, a perfect house-             Based on his experience with Sol-      added, even if the calls are short.
                  keeper, and she’s gorgeous, but I just       diers and families, “Most problems have         “Just knowing Chris was thinking
                  couldn’t let our 6-year-old daughter see     more to do with lack of communication      of me meant a lot to me and the kids,”
                  us fighting all the time.                    than with deployment,” King said.          Trish said.
                      “I think divorce is one of the biggest       “How you talk to your spouse is             “I think marriage in the military is
                  problems in the military today,” said La-    very important. Too many times a mar-      a significant challenge for the Army,”
                  disic, who’s now taking medication for       riage is all about ‘me,’” he said. “One    Downey added. “But officials are doing a
                  PTSD and undergoes counseling twice          of the people in the marriage thinks       very good job at understanding that the
                  monthly for the ailment. “Many couples       everything has to be done his or her       family is a combat multiplier — an impor-
                  get married too young. They haven’t yet      way. That’s when arguments begin.”         tant part of the puzzle — and is providing
                  had the chance to develop coping skills.         Ladisic’s advice to prospective        programs to support the family.”
                  Every other year they can expect to be       couples? “Have patience. Don’t rush             The current Reset pilot program,
                  separated from their families for 18         into marriage. If it’s meant to be, it’s   as an example, is one of the Army’s

                  8   |

                we d s
                         get a
                                 spar k
                                          ling s
                                                   end o
                                                           f f as
                                                                    t h ey
                                                                                             we d d
newest attempts to ease a Soldier’s                                                                   ing re
                                                                                                                        n fo r
transition back to his family and his                                                                                              a hon
                                                                                                                                           ey m o
community by minimizing or eliminat-                                                                                                                on in
                                                                                                                                                            t he t r
ing training requirements for 120 days                                                                                                                                         .
after a Soldier returns from deploy-
ment, Downey said.
                                                                                                                    Heike Hasena

    Besides communication, honesty,
unselfishness and support, candlelight
dinners and flowers — for no spe-
cial occasion at all — can’t hurt, said
    Information about Spc. Chase Win-
dell and his wife, Samantha, was provided
by John Fleshman of the U.S. Army
Garrison Vicenza, Italy, Public Affairs

                                                                                                                 Having taken
                                                                                                                beach, a happ r vows barefoot on a North
                                                                                                                                y couple turns                 Carolina
                                                                                                                of their guests                to accept the
                                                                                                                                .                            congratulations

                                                                                                                                                                                   Soldiers • June 2008   |   9
                                                                                                   Chaplain (Capt.) Lane J. Creamer, regimen-
                                                                                                     tal chaplain for the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The
                                                                                                      Old Guard), counsels Staff Sgts. Brooke
                                                                                                     and Mark Metrinko before their marriage.

     Preparing for                                                    thing differently, you’ll repeat their role designations.”
                                                                          Riggs also talks about expectations, roles and respon-

                                                                      sibilities, and about the couple’s respective personalities.
                                                                          “I see people who I think are not at all suited for each
                                                                      other,” said Riggs, who recently counseled one young
                                                                      couple from different religious backgrounds. “During
               Story and Photo by Heike Hasenauer                     the third session, I recommended they not get married,
                                                                      and they said, ‘Well, we love each other.’

                 VERY chaplain in the Army is ordained in his             “But just loving each other doesn’t mean you should
                 religion, said Chaplain (Maj.) Derrick Riggs,        get married,” Riggs said. “The single most divisive thing
                 whether as a rabbi, priest or Protestant pastor.     in a marriage is your view of religion and God. It will
         And each is responsible for developing a pre-marital         determine how you make decisions, what your values-
         counseling program.                                          base is and what your parenting style will be. If you pair
             Couples planning marriage are strongly encouraged        a very religious person with someone who doesn’t care
         to undergo pre-marital counseling, and to speak to a         about religion, they’ll come to an impasse.”
         chaplain about such things as finances, wedding-day              The couple he counseled is an example, he said. They
         plans, the role of religion in the marriage and aspects of   got married and were divorced three months later.
         intimacy, Riggs said.                                            For couples who are already married and recognize
             The Roman Catholic Church provides a six-month           some warning signs of trouble in their marriage —
         training program for members who want to be married in       among them failure to communicate, fighting, name-call-
         the church. It teaches doctrine about the sanctity of mar-   ing, lack of respect for one another, a low level of sexual
         riage and includes several weekend retreats, Riggs said.     intimacy, boredom or inability to have fun together any-
             Riggs has developed a five-week pre-marital counsel-     more, emotional or physical abuse and feelings of relief
         ing program for Protestants and has administered the         when your spouse is away — there’s help, Riggs said.
         training to many couples, he said. He talks about many           Besides the post-redeployment couple’s enrichment
         things, including family history.                            program, “Strong Bonds” [see related story], couples can
             “I tell couples that they’re reproducing the marriage    always speak to their unit or post chaplains, family-sup-
         of the families they come from,” Riggs said. “You’ve had     port workers and health professionals, and the Inter-
         one model, your parents. You’ve learned certain behav-       net provides a wealth of information about marriage,
         iors through osmosis. Unless you set out to do some-         divorce, and preventing the latter.

10   |
                                                                                                  FRGs assist families in a variety of ways, not the
                                                                                                  least of which is hosting social get-togethers.

                                                                                                  “Our Soldiers were out there in harm’s
                                                                                                  way on a daily basis.”
                                                                                                      Wolhaupter said family readi-
                                                                                                  ness groups formed quickly from
                                                                                                  volunteers of the deployed Soldiers’
                                                                                                  families. Before deployment, they
                                                                                                  explained the resources available to
                                                                                                  families. Throughout deployment, they
                                                                                                  maintained contact with the families
                                                                                                  using newsletters, meetings, events and
                                                                                                  telephone calls.
                                                                                                      “We had some Soldiers injured,”
                                                                                                  said Wolhaupter. “Family readiness
                                                                                                  group members helped the families deal
                                                                                                  with that and kept them connected.”
                                                                                                      Kerry Mork, family readiness group
                                                                                                  leader for Company C and wife of one
                                                                                                  of the deployed Soldiers, was among the
  H              o             n              o           r          i        n          g        nine battalion volunteers recognized.
                                                                                                      “It’s an honor for me to be that

Family Support Volunteers                                                                         bridge to the families,” said Mork,
                                                                                                  who accepted the award from Hall on
                                                                                                  behalf of all the battalion’s volunteers.
                                                                  By Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith
                                                                                                  “We had a number of volunteers who

       EPARTMENT of Defense leaders                       There are approximately 700             stepped up to help.”
       recently announced the National                 military family service centers across         Mork said their family readiness
       Guard and Reserve Family                        the nation, and 400 of them are in the     challenge was to understand the differ-
Readiness Groups considered to be the                  National Guard. Hall pointed out the       ent needs of each family and company.
“best in the nation” at enhancing mili-                important role these centers play in       “We had a lot of single Soldiers in our
tary readiness through family support                  retention, among other roles.              company, which meant working with
for 2007.                                                 “If servicemembers cannot have the      parents. But other companies had more
    They spotlighted the FRGs at                       ability to continue with their families    spouses and kids, so they would do
a DOD Reserve Family Readiness                         and also serve, then … servicemembers      things toward that.”
awards ceremony at the Pentagon’s                      are not going to stay,” Hall said.             Mork said family readiness is just
Hall of Heroes. This year’s winners                       Representatives from each of the        as important now that the battalion is
included a Wisconsin Army National                     units were on hand to receive the          home, and the groups continue to hold
Guard unit and a California Air Na-                    awards. Each was presented with an         meetings and talk to families during
tional Guard unit.                                     engraved plaque, a signed certificate of   their reintegration.
    Assistant Secretary of Defense for                 appreciation and a $1,000 check from           During his opening remarks, Hall
Reserve Affairs Thomas Hall presented                  the Military Officers Association of       talked about an “exciting new provi-
awards to Guard FRG representatives                    America.                                   sion” in the recent National Defense
from 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artil-                    Among the Guard’s awardees were         Authorization Act that would address
lery, Wisconsin Army Guard, and the                    nine volunteers from the Milwaukee-        servicemember and family reintegration
144th Fighter Wing, California Air                     based 121st FA.                            in a nationwide effort, through a center
National Guard.                                           The battalion recently returned         of excellence.
    Defense officials said the awards                  from a deployment to Kuwait and                “The National Guard has volun-
“recognize National Guard and Re-                      Iraq. Its Soldiers — from five states      teered to be part of the group that
serve units … with the best programs                   and 30 units — escorted convoys            helps us establish that,” said Hall. He
to support their families.”                            throughout Iraq.                           also stressed a goal to make all family
                                                          “We had a very demanding, danger-       service centers accessible to all service-
   Tech. Sgt. Mike R. Smith works at the National
                                                       ous mission,” said Maj. Brian Wol-         members, regardless of their branch of
Guard Bureau Public Affairs Office in Arlington, Va.   haupter, the battalion commander.          service.

                                                                                                                          Soldiers • June 2008    |    11
                                                                                                            Brian Le

                                                                                                                            “If for six months you use the skills
                                                                                                                       you learn this weekend, and it doesn’t
                                                                                                                       improve your marriage, call me and
                                                                                                                       I’ll take you out for a steak dinner,
                                                                                                                       separately if necessary,” Chaplain (Lt.

                                                                                                                       Col.) Mark Sachs, deputy staff chap-

       t e
                                                                                                                       lain for the 99th Regional Readiness

      gArhy Ma iage
                                                                                                                       Command, told the Arlington group.

  tren m
                                                                                                                       Sachs added that he’s facilitated some

                                                                                                                       15 retreats and has yet to receive such
                                                                                                     e                 a phone call. He has, however, heard
                                                                                             M. Lorg
                                                                            y Eli   zabeth                             from couples who cancelled their ap-
                                                                    Stor y b                          ert J. Str
                                                                                              Sgt. Rob                 pointments with divorce lawyers.
                                                                                                                            “The core of the program is com-
                                                                                                                       munication styles, how to communi-
                                                                                                                       cate well when it counts most, when
                                                                                                                       you have something very sensitive to
                                                                                                                       talk about or when the topic is risky
                                                                                                                       or highly emotional,” Sachs said. “We

       GT. 1st Class Pernell Mabry’s                        already evident — most husbands and                        teach our participants about com-
       wife, Wanda, gave birth to twins                     wives began to sit a little closer, share                  munication patterns that are toxic to a
       the day before he deployed to                        glances and hold hands.                                    marriage, how to avoid them and what
Iraq. Like many other Soldiers, Mabry                           The Strong Bonds training program                      to do when you find yourself in one of
missed the childrens’ first Christmas                       is run by both active-duty and reserve-                    those patterns. We talk about problem
and their first steps, and he didn’t know                   component chaplains. It originated                         solving or conflict management, how
if they would bond with him when he                         in 1999 with the Hawaii-based 25th                         to approach things that you differ on,
came home.                                                  Infantry Division, but has become in-                      and how to come to conclusions and
    The separation and reunion, he and                      creasingly popular as more couples seek                    find solutions that are productive and
his wife said, came with many chal-                         to maintain or rebuild communication                       consider each partner’s needs.
lenges and unexpected adjustments.                          and intimacy that have suffered because                         “When couples fight, it’s often be-
    So in November the couple joined                        of repeated deployments.                                   cause an event in the course of everyday
other Army Reserve couples — officer                            “We’ve seen the Strong Bonds                           life has sparked an issue for them,”
and noncommissioned officer, newly-                         program building strong families,”                         Sachs said. “Couples tend to discuss
wed and those married 30 years — at                         said Chaplain (Maj. Gen.) Douglas L.                       the issue in the context of the event and
a Strong Bonds weekend in Arlington,                        Carver, the Army’s chief of chaplains.                     because of that it never gets resolved.
Va., for a retreat intended to strength-                    “A strong Soldier, as he prepares for                      How do you separate issues from
en their marriages. And as the weekend                      or goes to combat, will be strong if his                   events and work through them in a way
progressed, positive changes were                           family’s strong. It’s based upon building                  that’s productive?”
                                                            strong communication, strong rela-                              The weekend includes a “date
   Maj. Daniel E. Herrigstad, the public affairs officer
                                                            tionships and maintaining that strong                      night,” and couples must leave their
for the 104th Training Div., contributed to this article.   intimacy that couples need to have.”                       home city and stay in a hotel in order

12   |
to spend quality time together. The           of trained chaplains and chaplain’s
Army pays for everything, even the            assistants. Sachs pointed out that it
spouse’s travel.                              was easy to tell they were working.
    “This is critical, because if your mar-   Instead of chatting with other couples,
riage isn’t healthy, something’s going to     the husbands and wives were sitting
happen to you as a Soldier,” said Chap-       closely, touching and leaning toward
lain (Lt. Col.) Peter J. Frederich, family    one another.
ministries officer at the Office of the           The 99th RRC added the Army’s
Chief of Chaplains. “We don’t charge          Battlemind training to the retreat, to
Soldiers to train on their weapons so         ensure that the Soldiers, some of whom Staff Sgt. Sam
                                                                                                    antha M
we shouldn’t charge them to train on          had recently returned from deploy-                            . Str yker
their marriages.”                             ment, and their spouses knew the
    The key lesson is the “speaker-           symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress
listener” technique, which can eliminate      Disorder, including isolation, aggres-     Hockett, an acting command sergeant
arguments by forcing couples to slow          sion, alcohol abuse, flashbacks and        major, then also deployed for 18
down and really listen to each other.         nightmares.                                months.
The speaker has the “floor” — it can be           “I think most of us got messed up          They’ve been married for three
something as simple as a piece of paper       down there and we don’t see it until       years, but have only lived together for
or a pen. The speaker can only make a         our wives say, ‘I’ve got one foot out the  a few months. They attended a Strong
few short statements before stopping          door. Do you want to do something          Bonds weekend in Oregon and said it
and letting the listener paraphrase, to       about it before the other one’s out?’      helped them deal with the stresses of
ensure both parties understand each           That’s what my wife told me a couple of two Army careers.
other, and then the roles reverse.            weeks ago,” said one Soldier, emphasiz-        “It’s really good for couples to come
    The goal is understanding, not            ing the importance of programs like        to these things after a deployment, to
fighting or agreeing or finding a solu-       Strong Bonds in helping marriages re-      know that they are not alone in what
tion. Most of the time, all couples           cover from or prepare for deployment.      they are going through,” Marks said.
really need is a great conversation.              Mabry, who returned from Iraq in           “The year after my husband came
Once they understand each other, the          September, said the retreat was the        back was the hardest. We had a lot of
problem often resolves itself. When           first opportunity he’s had to spend time   issues we had to work through and they
the speaker-listener technique isn’t          alone with his wife since his return. “I   would have been easier to deal with if
enough, Sachs said, it’s important that       think this is really helpful, and I thank  we had been able to do this sooner,”
couples try to find solutions as a team,      the chaplain’s section for coming up       agreed Stacie L. Fredenburg, who also
and not look at each other as the prob-       with the idea. Soldiers really need        attended the Oregon program. “If
lem. The idea, he said, is to brainstorm      something to get them back into family     you’ve been deployed, this is something
solutions together, compromise and            orientation, and this is really good. This to do. You will benefit.”
follow up later to see if the solution is     is something that really helps.”               According to Frederich, Strong
actually working.                                 “It’s been very helpful to both of us, Bonds has been so successful that the
    If the couple can’t find a solution,      because we’ve had our challenges since     National Institutes of Health gave the
there may be a deeper, hidden issue at        he’s been back,” Mabry’s wife added.       chaplaincy a grant for a five-year study
work. A knock-down, drag-out fight            “With us having different parenting        to see if the program makes a difference
about orange juice probably isn’t about       ideas and thoughts and opinions —and       in the amount of time Soldiers stay in
orange juice, for example. It may be          for him, being a new parent all over       the Army, whether they get PTSD,
about love, or control or acceptance.         again — and then different back-           and whether the family issues affect
That’s why the speaker-listener tech-         grounds, I think this has helped us to     such other aspects of their careers as
nique is so crucial, he said.                 have a common ground.”                     promotion rates.
    To keep on-going issues, such as              They both said they would recom-           New versions of the program are
money, from flaring up over everyday          mend the program to other Soldiers         now geared toward single Soldiers and
occurrences, one important Strong             and plan to use the techniques. In fact,   another involves entire families. The
Bonds suggestion is a weekly couple’s         95 percent of couples say they would       one for single Soldiers focuses on how
meeting, a time when couples will have        recommend the program, Sachs said.         to choose the right partner, and the
a safe opportunity to address any on-             Master Sgt. Carri R. Marks, a          version for families focuses on parent-
going concerns.                               full-time staff training specialist with   ing skills.
    Couples at the Arlington event            the 70th RRC, deployed to Iraq for 18          For more information or to find an
had several opportunities to practice         months right after marrying in 2004.       upcoming retreat, visit www.strong-
the techniques under the guidance             Her husband, Master Sgt. Donald M.

                                                                                                            Soldiers • June 2008   |   13
     A Defense Department family assistance team traveled
     to Vicenza, Italy, to provide information to personnel
     there about programs for Italy-based families.

                            y Assi stance
              ian S
                     Fa mil

         Ital                                                 Story By Dia
                                                                             na Ba hr

14   |
            HEN the Vicenza, Italy,
            military community hosted
            the first Europe-based joint-
services Family Assistance Workshop
for service providers recently, a team of
subject-matter experts from the Office
of the Secretary of Defense focused on
relocation assistance, children, youth
initiatives and counseling.
    Maj. Gen. Frank G. Helmick, com-
mander of the U.S. Army Southern
European Task Force, who had earlier
met members of the team in Wash-
ington, D.C., felt they had valuable in-
formation for the Vicenza community
and invited them to come to Italy, said
Renee Citron, deputy to the garrison
    Besides talking about new programs
and providing updates on current ones,
the discussion groups generated valu-
able ideas and provided networking
opportunities in many areas of family
assistance, Citron said.
    “Each day of the workshop was a
day of learning and enrichment for at-
tendees,” Citron added. “Not only did
the team conduct the workshop, but
its members held one-on-one meet-
ings with many staff members of the
Vicenza military community.
    “As a result, we will be able to better
use the many Defense Department
resources available at the installation
level,” she said.
    “We received information on a
variety of new resources, along with
potentially more effective ways to reach
Soldiers and family members,” said                    workshop were the Web sites for             “We received information
Kent Thompson, manager of the Army                    Military Homefront, www.military-
Community Service Financial Readi-          , and Military One-
                                                                                                    on a variety of new
ness Program.                                         Source,           resources, along with
    “I will be changing some of my                        “The two sites can help you with
methods of delivery to better reach the               just about anything,” said Franny Pack-
                                                                                                  potentially more effective
entire community. I want to determine                 ard, manager of Vicenza’s Exceptional        ways to reach Soldiers
what days and times are most conve-                   Family Member Program.
nient for people to attend events, and                    Another fan of the Web sites was
                                                                                                   and family members,”
I encourage our community to let me                   Rose Holland, who manages both               said Kent Thompson.
know what types of financial coaching                 Army Family Team Building and
they want, and when they want it.”                    Army Family Advocacy programs.             college-search tools. The other tool
    Many attendees said two of the                        “The resources available to our        that I would encourage everyone to use
most valuable takeaways from the                      Soldiers and families through both         is the ‘plan-my-move’ tool. This helps
                                                      sites is astonishing,” she said. “As a     you connect to resources to ensure you
Diana Bahr is assigned to the U.S. Army Garrison
                                                      parent of three teenagers, I was espe-     have what you need as you get ready to
                     Vicenza Public Affairs Office.   cially interested in the scholarship and   PCS.”

                                                                                                                  Soldiers • June 2008   |   15
16   |
    Dressed in protective suits, Sgt. Mark Warren (left) and
  Sgt. Austin Ryan of the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s
54th Civil Support Team transport equipment to a simulated
    decontamination site during Exercise Viking Shield ‘08 .
                                      Sgt. 1st Class Mark Bell

                                Soldiers • May 2008    |   17
                            army news
                                                                                                      BNCOC Offered at Transition Brigade
Craig Coleman

                                                                                                      SIX Soldiers graduated recently from the Basic NCO
                                                                                                      Course at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washing-
                                                                                                      ton, D.C.
                                                                                                          What makes the graduation unique is that the course was
                                                                                                      held for wounded warriors and cadre assigned to the center’s
                                                                                                      Warrior Transition Brigade.
                                                                                                          Due to the nature of the brigade’s mission, neither Sol-
                                                                                                      diers assigned as “warriors in transition” nor brigade cadre
                                                                                                      are able to go on temporary duty to attend professional
                                                                                                      military-education courses such as a Phase I BNCOC. The
                                                                                                      BNCOC course at WRAMC was undertaken as a pilot pro-
                                                                                                      gram to bring the schoolhouse to Soldiers at the brigade.
                                                                                                          Sgt. 1st Class Barry Nelson, one of the BNCOC instruc-
                                                                                                      tors, said the course was designed like every other BNCOC.
                                                                                                      It is academically heavy, and focuses on such issues as
                                                                                                      motivating subordinates, developing a cohesive team, troop
                                                                                                      leadership and cultural awareness.
                                                                                                          Nelson also said training and evaluations during the
                                                                                                      course were conducted to the high standards set by the Army,
                                                                                                      just as if the students were attending a traditional academy.
                                                                                                          In addition to providing important and required profes-
                                                                                                      sional-development education, attending the Phase 1 BN-
                                                                                                      COC at Walter Reed helped remind Soldiers assigned there
                                                                                                      that they are part of the Army, said Staff Sgt. Shad Lorenz, a
                                                                                                      member of the transition-brigade cadre.
                                                                                                          “Being in this environment, away from the traditional
                                                                                                      Army, can be hard,” Lorenz said. “This course put things
                Staff Sgt. Renee Deville displays her Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course
                shirt after graduating from the first class in the Warrior Transition Brigade BNCOC   back in focus. It puts you where you need to be.”
                pilot program at Walter Reed.                                                                                                      — Carrie McLeroy

                DOD Releases Sexual-Assault Report                                                    completed investigations. There were 181 courts martial,
                                                                                                      201 nonjudicial punishments, and 218 administrative actions
                DEFENSE officials have released the “Report on Sexual                                 and discharges. Some 75 percent of the reports were labeled
                Assault in the Military” for fiscal year 2007. It reveals that                        unfounded or lacking in sufficient evidence.
                in about 2,000 of 2,688 reported cases the victims opted to                               Army Chief of Public Affairs Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo
                share information with law-enforcement officers.                                      III said the Army has a culture of reporting, but senior lead-
                    In June 2005 the military created “restricted” reporting,                         ers believe the numbers are too high, and Army Chief of Staff
                under which victims receive medical help and counseling, and                          Gen. George Casey has still directed all commanders to evalu-
                evidence is collected, but no investigation is started. There                         ate their prevention programs.
                were 705 restricted reports in 2007, but 102 victims later                                Carolyn Collins, manager for the Army’s sexual assault
                changed their reports to unrestricted, at which time the cases                        and prevention response program, said training and aware-
                were handed over to law-enforcement personnel.                                        ness of the problem is crucial at all levels.
                    Some 6.8 percent of women and 1.8 percent of men expe-                                The Army’s sexual-misconduct rate during deployment
                rienced unwanted sexual advances, according to the survey.                            is lower than for Soldiers in garrison — 0.83 reported sexual
                About 60 percent of all reports concerned alleged rape, and                           assaults per thousand in Central Command versus 2.6 percent
                72 percent of the victims were servicemembers. Of the 603                             Armywide, Collins said, which Cucolo attributed to strong
                “restricted” reports, 69 percent were alleged rape cases.                             unit cohesion, limited free time and the absence of alcohol.
                    Action was taken against about half of the accused in the                                             — Dennis Ryan, Fort Myer, Va., Pentagram

                18   |
                                                                          MIA’s Remains Recovered
                                                                          THE remains of Staff Sgt. Keith Matthew
                                                                          Maupin were recovered March 20, northwest of
                                                                          Baghdad, Iraq, by elements of the 2nd Stryker
                                                                          Cavalry Regiment.
                                                                              It was the culmination of a four-year search for
                                                                          the Army Reserve Soldier from the 724th Trans-
                                                                          portation Company, Army officials said. And Sec-
                                                                          retary of the Army Pete Geren reiterated that the
AER Doubles Aid to Meet Needs                                             Army will never stop searching for missing Soldiers.
SINCE 2005 the Army Emergency Relief program has                              The recovery was the result of an intensive effort
increased by about 40 percent the financial assistance it                 by Multi-National-Division-Baghdad Soldiers
provides to Soldiers and families in need, according to the               and multiple joint and interagency organizations.
program’s director.                                                       The Soldiers of the 2nd SCR recovered Maupin’s
    Lt. Gen. Robert F. Foley (Ret.) said that in 2005 AER pro-            remains by approaching the recovery as a criminal
vided about $44 million in emergency interest-free loans and              investigation and employing appropriate investiga-
grants, as well as need- and merit-based academic scholarships,           tive techniques.
and by 2007 that number increased to almost $74 million. The                  “Since beginning operations in Abu Ghraib, we
2008 fundraising campaign lasted from March 1 to May 15.                  made finding Staff Sgt. Maupin a top priority, to
    AER lets Soldiers help Soldiers, and it is primarily funded           clearly demonstrate to every servicemember and ev-
by Soldiers through donations or repayment of AER loans.                  ery family that we will never leave a fallen comrade,”
The 2007 campaign raised $10.9 million. Foley said about 85               said Col. John RisCassi, 2nd SCR commander.
percent of AER assistance goes to staff sergeants and below.                                                       — ARNEWS
    Foley attributes the rising success in helping active-
duty, reserve-component and retired Soldiers, families and
survivors to increased education and awareness among Army
leaders, and to the Command Referral Program, launched in
2006. Under the program, company- and battery-level com-
manders and first sergeants can authorize $1,000 in interest-
free loans for their Soldiers.
    Each Soldier’s case is different, Foley said, so there are no
strict rules about what AER will or will not cover, and there
are no limits on the amount of the loan or grants Soldiers can
receive or the number of times they can apply to AER.
    AER also has other specific programs. Every Soldier who
has been medically evacuated from a combat theater is entitled
to a $200 grant from AER. Foley said AER is in the early
stages of partnering with the 35 warrior transition units and
Soldier family assistance centers around the Army.
    Spouses and children of active-duty and retired Soldiers
are also eligible for need-based undergraduate scholarships of
up to $2,900 a year (family income must be below $88,500),
academic scholarships of $1,300, and achievement and lead-
ership scholarships of $1,000.
    AER offices are located at the Army Community Ser-
vice building on Army installations, and can also be found
through the Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society, Air
Force Aid Society, Coast Guard Mutual Assistance and Red
Cross chapters nationwide. To find an AER office or for
more information, visit                              Staff Sgt. Keith Maupin of the Army Reserve’s 724th Transportation Company
                                                                    is shown in his vehicle sometime before April 9, 2004, when his convoy was
                         — Elizabeth Lorge, Army News Service       ambushed en route to Baghdad International Airport.

                                                                                                                      Soldiers • June 2008   |   19
                                                                                                        “People have to get away
                                                                                                        from the ‘Green Machine’
                                                                                                           every once in a while,
                                                                                                        no matter how dedicated
                                                                                                          they are to their careers
                                                                                                               and missions.”

                                                                                                       Army Family and Morale, Welfare and
                                                                                                       Recreation Command in Alexandria, Va.
                                                                                                           “We have this great booking tool
                                                                                                       that they can use to plan an itinerary
                                                                                                       and get all kinds of information by go-
                                                                                                       ing to and click-
                                                                                                       ing on the Great Travel Deals link.
                                                                                                           “They can sign in and start play-
                                                                                                       ing around and do multiple itinerar-
                                                                                                       ies. When they’re ready, they simply
                                                                                                       contact their designated ITR or ITT
                                                                                                       office, which will then coordinate with
                                                                                                       the staff in Perth, Australia, to get the
                                                                                                       price for a particular itinerary and pro-
                                                                                                       vide information to the individual.”
                                                                                                           Some of the most affordable Aus-
                                                                                                       tralian vacation packages available in-
                                                                                                       clude the Australia Zoo, Captain Cook
                                                                                                       Cruises, Accor Hotels, Quantas Air-
                                                                                                       lines, Costello’s Opals, Tropic Wings
                                                                                                       Tours, Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife
                                                                                                       World, Australian Day Tours, Sun-
                                                                                                       lover Great Barrier Reef Tours, Cairns
                                                                                                       Tropical Zoo and Bridge Climb.
                                                                                                           “For years we conducted surveys,
                                                                                                       and Australia kept coming up as a
                                                                                                       dream vacation,” Yount said. “We have
                                                                                                       been able to make it affordable.”
                                                                     Story by Tim Hipps                    A five-night stay in Melbourne and
                                                       Photos courtesy Tourism Australia
                                                                                                       Sydney, with roundtrip airfare from
                                                                                                       Los Angeles or San Francisco, has been

Sydney’s famed Opera House is one of the many               HE joint-services Australia                available for as little as $898 to active-
sights visitors to Australia can see during a trip
“Down Under.” The Opera House operates 24 hours
                                                            Military Tours Program might               duty, Reserve and National Guard
a day, every day except Christmas and Good Friday.          encourage folks inclined to vaca-          Soldiers, retired military and Depart-
                                                     tion “Down Under” to take the plunge.             ment of Defense civilian personnel, and
                                                        “This is an opportunity for people             family members.
                                                     who have ever considered travel to                    “This program is unique in that after
                                                     Australia to get firsthand information            people come back, we have not had one
                                                     and an idea of what they might want to            complaint. It is absolutely first class
                                                     do if they book a trip,” said Dan Yount,          all the way. Australia’s reputation for
                                                     director of Army Leisure Travel at the            hospitality is not going to suffer from
                                                                                                       our program.
                                                                   Tim Hipps works in the FMWRC
                                                                                                           “People have to get away from the
                                                                              Public Affairs Office.   ‘Green Machine’ every once in a while,

20   |
no matter how dedicated they are to          Kata Tjuta National Park is the home of Ayers Rock/Uluru, the world’s largest monolith. The sacred Aboriginal
                                             site is Australia’s most famous natural landmark.
their careers and missions,” Yount
said. “We can get them to almost any-
where in the world they want to go.”
    With this travel package, the idea of
a trip to the other side of the world does
not seem so far-fetched. Additional day
trips can be added to itineraries.
    From Sydney to Melbourne to
Brisbane to Cairns and the Great Bar-
rier Reef, Australia offers sun-drenched
horizons, white sandy beaches and
sophisticated, modern cities. Aside
from its natural beauty, Australia’s
hospitality and friendliness are rivaled
by few countries, Yount said.
    He suggested Soldiers interested in
visiting Australia depart from tempo-
rary-duty assignments on the West
Coast, which would save them even
more out-of-pocket expenses.
    Vacationers are urged to pay for
their packages as soon as possible.
    “Like just about every other cur-        Built for speed and strength, the kangaroo is an Australian icon and easily recognizable as one of the coun-
                                             try’s national symbols. Visitors can see the animals throughout the country.
rency in the world, the U.S. dollar is
dropping like a rock against the Aus-
tralian dollar,” Yount said. “We’re do-      anywhere. But when people get a price,                    the dollar dropped 14 percent against the
ing our best to keep trips to Australia      they need to make a quick decision and                    Australian dollar. That meant if some-
affordable, and the prices being offered     try to pay it as quickly as they can.                     body had a trip for $1,000, it would be
through the joint-services program are          “Every couple of weeks, the rate is go-                $1,114 if they waited until the end of the
the cheapest prices you’re going to find     ing to go up. In the month of September,                  month to pay for it,” Yount said.

                                                                                                                               Soldiers • June 2008   |     21
Army Family Covenant —                                                                    “We are placing family

Keeping Promises                                          Story by Carrie McLeroy
                                                                                            readiness support
                                                                                        assistants at the battalion
                                                                                         level of deployable units
                                                                                          to assist commanders

       HE Army committed $1.4 billion       funding existing family programs and
       this fiscal year to improving        services; increasing accessibility and         and family readiness
       quality of life for Army families.   quality health care; improving Soldier        groups throughout the
A partnership was forged between            and family housing; ensuring excellence
senior Army leaders, Soldiers and their     in schools, youth services and child            deployment cycle,”
families with the signing of the Army       care; expanding education and improv-               Wilson said.
Family Covenant in the fall of 2007.        ing employment opportunities for
    Since then, more than 174 Army          family members,” Bohannon said.
Family Covenant signings have taken             IMC commander Lt. Gen. Robert
place worldwide to demonstrate the          Wilson said successful execution of        Wilson said. “We are reaching out
Army’s commitment to providing Sol-         the Army’s four imperatives (sustain,      to geographically-dispersed Soldiers
diers and families a quality of life that   prepare, reset and transform) is para-     and families, of all components, by
is commensurate with their service and      mount in maintaining the force and         building the Army Integrated Family
daily sacrifices, said Dennis Bohanon,      supporting families.                       Support Network. This network will
director of strategic communications            He also stressed the importance of     connect all families with face-to-face
for the Assistant Chief of Staff for        ensuring that the best resources are       assistance and an information network
Installation Management.                    available to families, and he emphasized   not previously available outside our
    The Army’s leaders officially recog-    the role families play in overall Army     military population centers.”
nized the strength and commitment           readiness.                                    Wilson added that the Army
of Soldiers and their families, and are         “We are placing family readiness       Family Covenant promises to take
working to affirm that partnership by       support assistants at the battalion        exceptional care of Soldiers and their
focusing on four key issues.                level of deployable units to assist com-   families as the Army prepares for
    “We are making the Army Family          manders and family readiness groups        future challenges. “We are the Army’s
Covenant a reality by standardizing and     throughout the deployment cycle,”          home,” he said.

22   |
                                                                                                forward-operating base are two locally
                                                                                                constructed wells approximately 140
                                                                                                feet deep. Two submersible pumps
                                                                                                bring raw water up to the surface at
                                                                                                a rate of 114 gallons per minute, and
                                                                                                pump it into 3,000-gallon storage bags
                                                                                                called “onion skins.”
                                                                                                    A 42,000-gallon brick-and-mortar
                                                                                                storage container is available for non-
                                                                                                potable water.
                                                                                                    The raw water coming from the
                                                                                                well can “make you very sick,” said Pfc.
                                                                                                Christopher M. Bullard. “I think we’re
                                                                                                doing a great job purifying the water
                                                                                                and keeping everybody safe.”
                                                                                                    From the onion skins, the raw water
                                                                                                is turned into clean, potable water with
                                                                                                the help of one of two new, $1.2-mil-
                                                                                                lion reverse-osmosis water-purification
                                                                                                units that push out contaminants.
                                                                                                Previously, the water dogs were limited
                                                                                                by two 600-gallon-per-hour ROWPUs
                                                                                                and had to work around the clock to
                                                                                                keep up with the base’s water demand.
                                                                                                    The water flows from the ROWPU
                                                                                                into two 5,000-gallon sealed tanks,
                                                                                                from which it’s piped into the dining
                                                                                                facility and coffee shop.
                                                                                                    Ten additional 5,000-gallon stor-
                                                                                                age tanks are scheduled to be delivered
                                                                                                this spring.
                                                                                                    “We’re going to have 120,000
                                                                                                gallons of potable water stored on
                                                             gor   y A rg                       the base, and before the 173rd leaves,
                                                      c. Gre                                    servicemembers will be taking showers
                                                by Sp
                                   a nd   Photo                                                 using potable water. They’ll no longer
                          Stor y
                                                                                                have to worry about signs that read:
                                                                                                ‘Nonpotable water. Don’t use as drink-

        FOUR-man team of water-                      the team provides water for construc-      ing water or to brush teeth,’” said Sgt.
        purification specialists from                tion and aircraft maintenance, unit        1st Class Sean L. Carter.
        the 173rd Brigade Support                    officials said.                                Water is a key consideration for safe
Battalion’s Company A produces more                      “We provide Soldiers with the          cooking and for preparing tasty food,
than 40,000 gallons of water daily                   water they need to enjoy many of the       Carter said. “Too much chlorine in the
for servicemembers, contractors and                  creature comforts they have back in the    water will turn vegetables brown. It can
local national employees at Jalalabad                rear,” said 1st Lt. Nathan C. Miatech, a   also cause skin irritations, such as hives.”
Airfield, Afghanistan.                               Co. A platoon leader.                          Weather conditions can also pose
   Known as “water dogs,” the                            “A lot of Soldiers who are forward     challenges for the team, Bullard said.
Soldiers’ main mission is to produce                 deployed appreciate what my water          Water runs through the ROWPU more
32,500 gallons of nonpotable water                   dogs do, because they don’t have a lot     slowly when the temperature drops.
for sinks, showers, toilets, urinals and             of nonpotable water,” Miatech said.            Sometimes water production is up,
washing machines, to support personal                “They have to grab a couple of water       sometimes it’s down, said Sgt. Edward
hygiene and sanitation. Additionally,                bottles and do field hygiene, scrubbing    D. Haynes, a Co. A section sergeant.
                                                     down their essential areas, and that’s     But the team’s number-one priority
 Spc. Gregory Argentieri is assigned to the 173rd
                                                     about all they can do.”                    will continue to be providing a steady,
               Airborne Brigade Combat Team.             The primary water sources on the       healthy supply of water to the troops.

                                                                                                                    Soldiers • June 2008   |   23
                                                         Cpl. Frank Buckles
                                                   shor tly after he arrived
                                                                     nd, on his       A Second Look
                                                 Winchester, Engla        1917.
                                                      way to France in                    During a recent Pentagon ceremony,
                                                                                      Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
                                                                                      praised Buckles’ service and noted that
                                                                                      while World War I lacks a national
                                                                                      memorial and has failed to capture the
                                                                                      American consciousness the way later
                                                                                      conflicts have, it set the stage for much
                                                                                      of the history that has followed.
                                                                                          “The 20th century truly began with
                                                                                      an archduke’s assassination in Sarajevo
                                                                                      on June 28, 1914,” Gates said. “The
                                                                                      war, which started as a fight over Bal-
                                                                                      kan independence, left in its wake a re-
                                                                                      drawn map of Europe and the Middle
                                                                                      East — including the demarcation of a
                                                                                      land in Mesopotamia called Iraq. From
                                                                                      Baghdad to Belgrade, the places that
                                                                                      mattered then are in the forefront of
                                                                                      our consciousness today.”

                                                                                      Helping America Remember
                                                                                          In 2006 photographer David De-
                                                                                      Jonge set out to help America remember
                                                                                      a war that was neither great nor ended
                                                                                      all wars, by documenting remaining
                                                                                      World War I veterans. By the time he
                                                                                      could finance the project, four had died.
                                                                                      Five more died within weeks of their
                                                                                      sessions, and today only Buckles and
                                                                                      Canadian John F. Babcock are alive. The
                                                                                      collection of nine portraits will remain
                                                                                      on permanent display at the Pentagon.
                                                                                          “For those of us here today, we
                                                                                      will forever put the face of Corporal
                                                                                      Buckles and the nine faces so master-
                                                                                      fully captured by David DeJonge on

Army Salutes                                                                          the Great War,” said Secretary of the
                                                                                      Army Pete Geren. “And when we put

             Last Doughboy
                                                                                      a human face on a heretofore faceless
                                                                                      war, we are reminded and convinced of
                                                                                      the personal debt that each of us owes
                                                                                      to those who have secured the blessings
                                                                                      of our liberty.”
                                                     Story by Elizabeth M. Lorge
                                                                                      Unexpected Honor

   N 1917 the first of some 4.7 million   the trenches. The first few who made           Wearing the Legion of Honor he
   Americans marched off to fight the     it home received tickertape parades,        was awarded by French President
   Kaiser, filled with naïve optimism     but little by little, America forgot this   Jacques Chirac, Buckles simply thanked
that “the Great War” would end inter-     generation of veterans.                     the people in attendance on behalf of
national conflict forever.                    Now only one is left. Former Cpl.       his fellow World War I veterans. He
   Instead they saw the horrors of        Frank Woodruff Buckles, now 107,            received a standing ovation from the
modern warfare for the first time,        is the only living American known to        standing-room-only crowd.
and more than 257,000 were killed         have served in France in World War I,          He never expected to be the last
or wounded in a year and a half in        and his life mirrors the 20th century.      WWI veteran, Buckles said during an

24   |
interview at his farm in West Virginia,

                                                                                                                                                                   Elizabeth M. Lorge
but since he is, he will serve his genera-
tion as best he can.
    Only 16 when the United States
declared war on Germany in 1917,
Buckles had to lie about his age several
times to enlist — although he insists
“lie” is too strong a word — and was
rejected by the Marines because he was
too small and by the Navy because he
had flat feet.
    An Army recruiter in Oklahoma
finally took him after Buckles said the
only record of his birth was in the family
Bible in Missouri. After training in Kan-
sas he sailed for Europe aboard RMS
Carpathia, the ship that had rescued the
survivors of the Titanic in 1912.
                                             Secretary of the Army Pete Geren (far right) looks on as a portrait of Buckles (seated at lower left) is unveiled
Anxious to Reach Frontlines                  during the Pentagon ceremony. Portraits of nine World War I veterans, including Buckles, will remain on
                                             permanent display at the Pentagon.
   Buckles went to all that effort to
serve, he said, “because it’s an impor-
tant thing. The whole world was inter-

                                                                                                                                                                   Elizabeth M. Lorge
ested in this. Why shouldn’t I be?”
   An old sergeant had told Buckles
that the fastest way to get to the action
in France was to join the ambulance
corps, since ambulance drivers were
desperately needed at the front. But to
Buckles’ dismay, his unit was rerouted
and he found himself in Winchester,
England, chauffering officers in the
sidecar of a motorcycle.
   Buckles eventually made it to
France, but never near the trenches. As
an ambulance driver, he saw plenty of
casualties, but never any combat.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time
    After the war, Buckles began a career
in shipping. He traveled frequently to
the Germany of the Third Reich — he          Buckles relaxes at his home in West Virginia. He holds the the meal cup he used for three years and two
                                             months at a Japanese prison camp in the Philippines during World War II.
remembers a German officer telling him
they were preparing for another war as
early as the 1920s — and in a terrible       starved the prisoners and, as the Ameri-                    “Today young men and women from
example of being in the wrong place at       cans got close, they planned to murder                      our generation … are joined in a war
the wrong time, was in Manila when           them. Rescuers arrived just in time, and                    in a far-off land that will shape their
Japan invaded the Philippines in 1941.       Buckles recalled being so happy to see                      future and the world’s future for de-
    He had turned down a job in Buenos       them that he dressed up in the starched                     cades to come. As with Frank Buckles’
Aires, expecting to be in the Philip-        shirt and pressed pants he had saved for                    war, some day this war will end and
pines only six months. Instead, during       38 months.                                                  all will come home with their lives and
three years in a Japanese prison camp                                                                    the world forever changed, and with
he nearly starved and lost more than 50      Vets Shape Future                                           vivid and searing memories of their
pounds. He said that toward the end             “This nation called and a country                        war that will live with them through-
of the war the Japanese intentionally        boy from Missouri went,” Geren said.                        out their days.”

                                                                                                                                  Soldiers • June 2008    |   25
                                                                                                        Soldier-firefighters assigned to the Army
                                                                                                           Reserve’s 468th Engineer Detachment
                                                                                                       attack a simulated aircraft fuel fire during
                                                                                                                 training at Westover AFB, Mass.

Firefighters                                          Story and Photos by Sgt. 1st Class Mayra O’Neill-Dalton

       N a cool autumn day the heat                  weeks of training at the Department of       their specialized skills with their civil-
       was intense for Army Reserve                  Defense Louis F. Garland Fire Train-         ian co-workers.
       firefighters geared up to confront            ing Academy at Goodfellow Air Force             “Every time I learn something new
a simulated aircraft crash at Westover               Base, Texas.                                 from the Army, I teach it to my co-
Air Force Base in Chicopee, Mass.                        At the academy Soldiers earn all         workers in the fire department, so they
    While the men and women battling                 the necessary firefighting certifications,   can also be prepared for things they’ve
the mock blaze that day were assigned                including Firefighter I and II, Haz-         never encountered,” McLaughlin said.
to the 368th Engineer Battalion in                   ardous Material, Emergency Medical
Londonderry, N.H., they were drawn                   Technician Certification and Airfield        Females Fighting Fire
from detachments based both in that                  Operations.                                      The 339th’s Spc. Erin Marie Leary,
state and in Massachusetts. The fire-                    The training reflects the differences    who’s also a civilian firefighter in Re-
fighting units are the 468th Engineer                between civilian and military firefight-     vere, Mass., shares McLaughlin’s senti-
Detachment which is the headquarters                 ing, McLaughlin said. Civilian depart-       ments about the Army and its training.
element, the 287th, 356th, 339th En-                 ments respond primarily to structure             “Learning how to attack the fire
gineer Detachments of Danvers, Mass.,                fires, while their military counterparts     using the fire trucks, deploying hand
and the 530th Engineer Detachment of                 must be ready to respond to such other       lines, and practicing interior attacks
Somersworth, N.H.                                    threats as aircraft, ammunition and          by shutting down a plane and fighting
    Sgt. James M. McLaughlin, the                    fuel fires.                                  fire in the cockpit is training that helps
339th Engr. Detachment’s team chief,                     Once academy graduates reach their       me brush-up on skills I don’t use every
said the battalion includes many young               units, it’s up to senior firefighters like   day,” she said.
Soldiers who recently completed 13                   McLaughlin to ensure that they con-              “It’s also good because it allows me
                                                     tinue to polish their skills. And since      to work with different people — new,
Sgt. 1st Class Mayra O’Neill-Dalton is assigned to
                                                     many Reserve firefighters also belong        young troops as well as older, more
     the 362nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.     to civilian departments, they also share     experienced Soldiers. Because many of

26   |
them are also civilian firefighters, we                protective equipment and self-con-            and check local streets to make sure
get to exchange ideas and techniques.”                 tained breathing apparatus. The latter        fire trucks can get through. They also
                                                       includes a one-hour bottle of oxygen          handle electrical problems, immedi-
Best of Both Worlds                                    and is a critical component of a fire-        ate medical services and tent fires, and
    Pfc. David Anthony Grace of the                    fighter’s gear. In a fire, the firefighters   conduct fire-prevention training and
287th Engr. Det. always wanted to be                   need to know how to use it properly,          building inspections.
both a firefighter and a Soldier. An                   and how to make it last by controlling            Soldiers from the 287th and 356th
electrician by trade and a volunteer                   their breathing and the air flow.             Engr. Dets. deployed to Camp Taji and
firefighter with Massachusetts’ Malden                                                               Al Anbar Air Base, Iraq, while other
Emergency Center, he didn’t hesitate to                Deployed Firefighters                         elements remained in Kuwait. Once
enlist in the Reserve when he found out                    Army firefighters establish fully         they report to their forward operating
he could do both.                                      functioning fire departments during           base in theater, they can be assigned to
    “I got a two-for-one deal,” he said.               deployments, McLaughlin said. They            an Army division, the Marines or to
“It took more than a year to get a slot at             set up stations, track water supplies         coalition forces.
the firefighter academy, but once there
I learned skills that will be very helpful
when we’re deployed.”
    Grace said he appreciates the fact
that many of the firefighters in the unit
are also civilian firefighters, and he
draws on their knowledge and experi-
ence to bolster his own skills.
    Grace is on a waiting list for several
city fire departments, but for now he
continues to volunteer. The civilian
firefighters he works with respect him
as an experienced Army firefighter,
even though he’s a relative rookie. He
shares his knowledge from the Army’s
training with his co-workers and they
share their knowledge with him.

A Second Career
    Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Belcher is
the senior NCO and first sergeant for
the 468th Engr. Det. He has been with
his current unit for only a year, but is
a former combat heavy engineer and
a 21-year Army veteran. As a civilian,
Belcher is a truck driver.
    Since he became an Army fire-
fighter, he has developed an interest in
civilian firefighting.
    “I caught the bug, and that is what I
want to do now,” he said.
    His job during training is to ensure
that team chiefs are training the Sol-
diers to standard and developing unit
cohesiveness. Simulation and scenario
training is conducted three times a year.
    During training, the firefighters
used the M1142, the newest tactical
fire truck, as well as hoses, personal
    Crew chief Sgt. Michael S. Foley monitors a fire
            hydrant during a “pump-and-roll” drill.

                                                                                                                       Soldiers • June 2008   |   27
                                                                                                               Col. John Stanwix in 1757. Located
                                                                                                               at the intersection of Indian trails

          Honoring the Past,                                                                                   along Letort Creek, the post became
                                                                                                               the jumping-off point for traders and

          Shaping the Future
                                                                                                               settlers heading into the Allegheny
                                                                                                               Mountains on their way west.
                                                                                                                   “Stanwix had been ordered here to
                                                                          Story by Tom Zimmerman               establish a fortified camp, which at the
                                                                                                               time meant tents, redoubts and small
                                                                                                               defensive positions,” Giblin said. In
                                                                                                               1801 the land became U.S. federal prop-
                                                                                                               erty when it was purchased from heirs of
                                                                                                               William Penn. The post became known
                                                                                                               as Carlisle Barracks around 1807.

                                                                                                               School Days
                                                                                                                   While the Continental Army estab-
                                                                                                               lished its School for Artillerists at Carl-
                                                                                                               isle Barracks in 1778, the first perma-
                                                                                                               nent Army school to take up residence
                                                                                                               on the post was the School for Cavalry
                                                                                                               Practice in 1838. The school stayed at
                                                                                                               Carlisle until the beginning days of the
                                                                                                               Civil War.
                                                                                                                   After that conflict the post went
                                                                                                               through a period of change, and in
                                                                                                               1879 was transferred to the Depart-
                                                                                                               ment of the Interior to become the
                                                                                                               Carlisle Indian Industrial School. Its
                                                                                                               mission was to prepare young Ameri-
                                                                                                               can Indian students for life in a growing
                                                                                                               industrial nation.
                                                                                                                   The school’s first superintendant,
                                                                                                               Brig. Gen. Richard Pratt, designed an
                                                                                                               environment intended to help young
                                                                                                               American Indians develop self-respect,
                                                                                                               self-reliance and personal responsibility.
                                                                                                               During its time at Carlisle, the school
                                                                                                               attracted nationwide attention due to its

       OU can almost feel the hun-                                   “Ever changing, always remember-          athletic programs led by Coach “Pop”
       dreds of years of history at                               ing, Carlisle Barracks embodies the rich     Warner. Two world-renowned ath-
       Carlisle Barracks, Pa. What                                military tradition of the last 250 years     letes, multi-sport and 1912 Olympian
other installation can bring you more                             and promises to lead the way into the        Jim Thorpe and baseball great Charles
than two and a half centuries worth of                            Army’s next 250 years.”                      Bender, were students at the school.
history with just a few simple steps?                                                                              In 1920 Carlisle Barracks became
    For 250 years Carlisle Barracks has                           Evolution of a Post                          home to the Medical Field Service
been a leader in Army education.                                     Carlisle Barracks’ size and shape         School. Established under Col. Percy
    “Today it remains a place that                                have changed some over the past two          Ashburn’s command, and drawing on
molds future leaders and educates them                            and a half centuries, but the post’s basic   the lessons of World War I, the school
to adapt to the rapidly evolving strate-                          footprint is the same as it was at the       developed medical equipment and doc-
gic environment,” said Lt. Col. Sergio                            turn of the 18th century.                    trine suitable for the battlefield.
Dickerson, garrison commander.                                       Jack Giblin, director of visitor and          “The school was here until 1946,
                                                                  education services for the U.S. Army         and was responsible for developing
       Tom Zimmerman works in the Carlisle Barracks Public
 Affairs Office. Staff Sgt. Christopher Fincham contributed to
                                                                  Heritage and Education Center, said          the Carlisle bandage and other things
                                                  this article.   the post was founded by British Army         we know today as traditional medical

28   |
practices for Soldiers in the field. Car-                                                  programs, displays and guest lectures,
lisle had a very important place in the
                                              “The Army Heritage and                       the center helps to teach contemporary
development of medical field schools              Education Center                         lessons through historical examples.
and graduated almost 30,000 medical                                                        Visitors from all over the country come
Soldiers,” said Giblin.
                                                is the public face of                      to Ridgway Hall in order to gain a
    Though the Medical Field Service             Army history,” said                       historical perspective on the issues and
School eventually relocated to Fort Sam                                                    conflicts of today.
Houston, Texas, educational innovation
                                              Col. Robert Dalessandro,
continued at Carlisle Barracks. Between            AHEC’s director.                        Other Assets
1946 and 1951 the post briefly hosted                                                          Carlisle Barracks also includes
no fewer than six Army schools. The          operating environment,” said Lt. Gen.         the Center for Strategic Leadership’s
Army Information School arrived first,       David Huntoon Jr., the director of            wargaming, simulation, conferencing
followed by the School for Govern-           Army Staff at the Pentagon, and the           and experiential education center. The
ment of Occupied Areas, the Adjutant         college’s former commandant. “We are          CSL hosts more than 100 educational
General’s School, the Chaplain School        committed to developing agile, adaptive       events annually, with an estimated
and the Military Police School.              and innovative leaders who will succeed       7,000 attendees.
    Finally, the last of the six, the Army   in this era of persistent conflict at the         The Strategic Studies Institute
Security Agency School, began its clas-      strategic level of war and peace.”            focuses on geo-strategic and national
sified operations in 1949, and stayed            The college provides senior-level edu-    security research and analysis, and
for two years before being displaced by      cation for lieutenant colonels and colonels   leads the collective effort to meet the
the War College.                             through three concurrent classes — the        War College’s research and publication
                                             10-month resident education program           mission. National security and strategic
The U.S. Army War College                    and the first- and second-year phases of a    leadership research and analysis pub-
    Originally established in 1901 in        two-year Distance Education Program.          lished by SSI is available free of charge
Washington, D.C., the U.S. Army War              Graduates of both programs cur-           at www.strategicstudiesinstitute.
College suspended classes in 1940 dur-       rently receive Joint Professional Mili-
ing the mobilization for World War II,       tary Education Phase I certification,             Another important organization
and resumed at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.,       and earn the Army’s Military Educa-           preparing tomorrow’s leaders is the
for the 1950-1951 academic year. Lt.         tion Level 1 identifier or equivalent, a      U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stabil-
Gen. Joseph Swing relocated the college      master of strategic studies degree and a      ity Operations Institute, established
to Pennsylvania in July 1951.                War College diploma.                          in 2003. The Army’s authority on
    The Army War College grew                    Each resident class typically has 340     stability operations at the strategic
steadily at Carlisle, soon outgrow-          students and is composed primarily of         level, PKSOI shapes the development
ing its main academic building (the          U.S. military officers, but also includes     of policy for peace-and-stability op-
current Upton Hall). It transferred to       civilians from various government             erations, advises senior leaders on the
its current home, Root Hall, in 1967.        agencies and 41 international students        conduct of peace and stability opera-
Two specialized agencies evolved into        from allied nations.                          tions, and develops pertinent concepts
integral parts of the Army War Col-                                                        and doctrine.
lege: the Strategic Studies Institute,       Heritage and History                              The Army Physical Fitness Research
first formed in 1954, and the Military           Though it may be the most famous          Institute, founded in 1982, specializes in
History Institute, established in 1967.      Army school, the War College is not the       health and fitness disciplines focused on
    The Center for Strategic Leader-         only institute at Carlisle focused on edu-    the over-40 population, with emphasis
ship, a state-of-the-art wargaming com-      cation. The Army Heritage and Educa-          on nursing, psychology, nutrition, physi-
plex that opened in 1994, contributed        tion Center is dedicated to preserving        cal therapy, and exercise physiology.
another dimension to the college.            the heritage of the Army, but also serves         The post is also experiencing major
    The War College educates the             an important role in education.               housing improvements as a result of
future senior leaders of the Army, as            “The Army Heritage and Educa-             the Residential Communities Initiative.
well as members of the joint services,       tion Center is the public face of Army        While the initial development phase
interagency, intergovernmental and           history,” said Col. Robert Dalessandro,       will bring the post 277 new housing
multinational communities.                   AHEC’s director. “Our sacred trust is         units, many historic homes will also
    “Behind the 19th century facades         to tell the story of the American Soldier     be renovated to ensure the installation
of Carlisle Barracks, the U.S. Army          to the public by bringing the historic        retains a character that is true to its
War College is responding every day          deeds of American Soldiers to life.”          250-year history.
to the 21st century’s volatile, uncertain,       The AHEC collection spans all eras            For more information on Carlisle
complex and ambiguous contemporary           of military history. With educational         Barracks, visit

                                                                                                              Soldiers • June 2008   |   29
Sgt. Brian K. Parker

     Master Sgt. Joshua Dukes, a drum major
     with The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps,
     leads the group through a performance
     during a Twilight Tattoo.

          Twilight Tattoo
                                                    2 0 0 8
       RADITIONS are a part of almost          The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps             Fort McNair can be reached by trav-
       every individual, group and             and The U.S. Army Drill Team; The         eling south on 7th Street N.W. until
       community. Traditions enable            U.S. Army Band jazz ensemble; and         it intersects with Maine Avenue. Turn
us to recall the past, understand the          vocalists from The U.S. Army Chorus       left on Maine and follow it to M Street
present and prepare for the challenges         and The U.S. Army Chorale.                and make a right turn at 4th Street. The
of the future.                                     As part of the Army’s annual          Metro station will be on the left.
    Traditions and customs are                 birthday celebrations, the U.S. Army           Follow 4th to P Street, southwest.
particularly important to military             Military District of Washington           Follow P Street to a right at the installa-
organizations, in which morale,                will conduct Twilight Tattoos each        tion entrance just before 2nd Street. The
leadership and caring for each other           Wednesday, from May 7 to June 28 at       military police at the gate will direct you
are important parts of everyday life.          7:30 p.m. All performances will be held   to the parade field for the presentation.
The U.S. Army Military District of             at historic Fort Lesley J. McNair.            If the weather looks threatening, call
Washington is carrying forward one                 Fort McNair is in Southwest           (202) 685-2888 for a recorded message
Army tradition through its presenta-           Washington, D.C. Its northwest            about the status of performances.
tion of “Twilight Tattoo.”                     corner is located at 4th and P streets        Visitors are asked not to bring food.
    The event is an hour-long military         southwest, near the Waterfront/Ma-        Bottled water is permitted, though
pageant that features Soldiers of the          rina and approximately three blocks       large bags and backpacks are not. —
3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard)              from the Metro’s Green Line station at    U.S. Army Military District of Washing-
troop and ceremonial units, including          Waterside Mall.                           ton Public Affairs Office.

30    |
                                                     Ride Smart, Ride Safe
                                                                                                  Story by Sgt. 1st Class Steve Kurtiak (Ret.)

                                                     the helmet and meets or exceeds ANSI            org/downloads/Riding_Tips.pdf)
                                                     Safety Code Z87.1.                              and refer to the Motorcycle Skills Test
                                                         • Sturdy footwear, such as leather          Practice Guide. Follow the instructions

        PRING is in the air. The geese               boots or over-the-ankle shoes. Mo-              in this guide and continue to improve
        are returning from their winter              torcycle-specific boots work best and           your riding skills. Constant practice is
        hiatus, and there’s a motorcycle             won’t come off in a crash. They typi-           necessary, because the skills involved
sale at the local bike shop.                         cally provide protection for your ankles        are perishable.
    If you’re a Soldier, before you lay              and shins.
down your hard-earned cash you                           • A long-sleeved shirt or jacket,           Plan Your Ride
must have a motorcycle endorsement                   long trousers, and full-fingered gloves             Plan your rides the way pilots plan
on your driver’s license and must at-                or mittens designed for use on a                their flights, and tell someone where
tend an Army-approved motorcycle                     motorcycle.                                     you’re going and when you expect
safety course.                                           • The outer upper garment must be           to return. Look at the routes, check
    Motorcycling is not inherently                   brightly colored for wear during the            the weather and plan stops along the
dangerous. But, like flying, it is terribly          day and a reflective garment should             way. If you have an accident or other
unforgiving of any carelessness, inca-               be worn at night. If your riding gear is        mishap, people should know where to
pacity or neglect.                                   not reflective, consider a reflective vest      look for you.
    Army pilots become proficient in                 designed specifically for motorcyclists.
basic tasks before they are allowed to                                                               Search, Evaluate and Execute
get behind the controls of the Army’s                Bigger is Not Always Better                         It’s vital that you position yourself in
most advanced aircraft. Motorcyclists                    Once you have the proper gear,              traffic so that other travelers can see you.
should take the same approach, and the               the next consideration should be the            Always anticipate what other vehicles
decision to buy should be made only                  size of the bike. Most bikes range in           might do, and use the “search, evaluate
after they receive proper motorcycle-                engine size from 250cc to 1800cc. You           and execute” process you learned in the
safety training. Such training is avail-             should start out on a motorcycle with           basic riders’ course. Check your mirror
able at many installations throughout                less horsepower. Many of today’s 600cc          frequently, and always turn your head to
the Army, and if you’re stationed at a               motorcycles have more than 100 horse-           check for traffic when you change lanes.
sister-service installation, chances are             power and can exceed 140 miles per
they also have training available. Con-              hour. Don’t be misled into believing            Mentorship
tact your installation safety office for             that a 600cc motorcycle is a small bike.            If your unit or installation has a
details on signing up for and attending                  Does the bike fit your body? If you         motorcycle mentorship program, join
a motorcycle-training class.                         can’t reach the ground or controls              it. Such programs allow riders to learn
                                                     comfortably, you are setting yourself up        from those with varying experience
The Right Helmet                                     for failure.                                    levels. Group riding also provides rid-
    Once you’ve successfully com-                                                                    ers greater visibility in traffic and allows
pleted your training, you’ll be ready to             Practice Makes Perfect                          them to share a common interest. Visit
purchase protective equipment. Ask an                    You’ve made solid choices concern- for more
experienced rider and the motorcycle                 ing your gear and motorcycle, now               information.
dealer what they recommend. Don’t                    what? Practice is the key. Your first
skimp on personal gear. Look for:                    ride shouldn’t be through downtown              Perishable Skills
    • A helmet that meets Department                 traffic at rush hour, nor should it be at           It takes six months or more before a
of Transportation standards and fas-                 70 mph on the expressway. The skills            rider can be considered “experienced.”
tens properly under your chin.                       you learned in the basic riders’ course         The experienced-rider course builds on
    • Impact- or shatter-resistant                   are just that — basic.                          the basic course and provides addition-
goggles, wrap-around glasses, or a                       You may ask, “Where do I prac-              al road-safety skills for riders. A task
full-face shield that properly attaches to           tice?” or “What do I practice?” Down-           performed frequently becomes second
                                                     load a copy of “Motorcycle Tips for             nature, so if you are riding only once a
  Sgt. 1st Class Steve Kurtiak (Ret.) works at the
  U.S. Army Combat Readiness/Safety Center at
                                                     Riders” from the Motorcycle Safety              week or so, your skills aren’t improving,
                                 Fort Rucker, Ala.   Foundation Web site (www.msf-usa.               they’re diminishing.

                                                                                                                         Soldiers • June 2008   |   31
Focus on People                     By Pfc. Monica K. Smith

                                                                      Support Battalion, was       with her grandparents until she re-
 Amegble’s now 4-year-old
 daughter, Isabella.                                                  reunited with his now        ceived her passport and visa.
                                                                      4-year-old daughter,             “It was hard for us to leave our
                                                                      Isabella.                    daughter in Africa,” Amegble said.
                                                                          Four years ago           “She was too young, but we didn’t
                                                                      Amegble and his family       have a choice.”
                                                                      lived in the West African        Amegble found it hard to support
                                                                      nation of Togo. There, a     his family, so he enlisted in the Army
                                                                      lottery system determines    in March 2006. Soon thereafter he be-
                                                                      who will receive travel      gan to make progress toward re-uniting
                                                                      visas to the U.S.            Isabella with her family in America.
                                                                          “If you win, you have        Amegble arrived at his unit in July
                                                                      the opportunity to go        2006, and was encouraged to become
                                                                      to America and have a        a U.S. citizen. His chain of command
                                                                      green card and a Social      became aware of Amegble’s family situ-
                                                                      Security card so you can     ation and began to assist in reuniting
                                                                      work,” Amegble said.         him with his daughter.
                                                                          At the time Amegble          “He got his citizenship before we
                                                                      entered the lottery, he      deployed, and we started the process
                                                                      attached paperwork           of reuniting him with his daughter,”
                                                                      for his wife and their       said 1st Sgt. Spencer Davis of Co. A,
                                                                      3-year-old son. By the       603rd ASB. “We made some calls, and
                                                                      time Amegble won the         worked with the Department of Hu-
                                                                      lottery a year later, his    man Resources back at Fort Stewart.”
                                                                      wife had given birth to          Almost a year after beginning the
                                                                      their daughter, Isabella,    process, Amegble became a citizen
                                                                      who was not listed in the    and Isabella was granted a visa. When
                                                                      application.                 Amegble took his mid-tour leave from
                                                                          “When we went to         Iraq at the end of September 2007, he
                                                                      the U.S. embassy to          took out an Army Emergency Relief
                                                                      interview for a visa, we     loan for $4,700 to purchase the plane
                                                                      talked to the consulate      ticket that would fly him to Africa to
                                                                      about our daughter,”         bring Isabella home.
                                                                      Amegble said. “They              “That was a wonderful day for me,”
                                                                      told me I had the oppor-     Amegble said. “That was the most
                                                                      tunity to get a visa for     important day of my life. I cried. I
                                                                      her, but she had to have     couldn’t believe it. My wife is the hap-
                                                                      a passport. “                piest of anyone, though. It is hard for a
                                                                          While trying to get      mom to be apart from her child.”
                                                                      a passport for Isabella it       Amegble went back to Iraq a few
                                                                      came time for Amegble        days after returning from Africa. His
                                                                      to leave. Unable to af-      wife, Essivi, is taking English classes
                                                                      ford a ticket for his wife   while their son, Matthias, now 6 years
                                                                      and son, Amegble left        old, is in first grade. Isabella is in day-
                                                                      his family in Togo in        care to learn English.

    T had been more than three years                  May 2004, bound for New York.                    Amegble says he is thankful for all
    since Spc. Koma Amegble and his                      He stayed there for two weeks while       the help he received.
    family left their baby daughter be-               applying for a Social Security card and          “I’m very proud of myself,” Ameg-
hind in Africa. Last October, Amegble,                then moved to Philadelphia where he          ble said. “I’m grateful to my Lord that
of Company A, 603rd Aviation                          got a job on a vehicle assembly line.        I can have my family together. My
                                                      Though Amegble’s wife and son were           commander, my first sergeant, they
 Pfc. Monica K. Smith is assigned to the Combat
    Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, Public
                                                      able to join him a few months later,         helped me a lot. All of my platoon
                                    Affairs Office.   8-month-old Isabella had to remain           gave me moral support.”

32   |
Soldiers • June 2008   |   3

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