In the Military
Pvt. Jeff Gordon, member of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Infantry Battalion, 27th Regiment, has his sights set as he checks his scope and judges the distance of a target during sniper training in the Mojave Desert.
New training center chief has isle ties
Maj. Gen. Jason K. Kamiya, commanding general of Army European Task Force (Airborne) in Italy, will be the next leader of the Joint Warfighting Center and also director of Joint Training at U.S. Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, Va. Since March 2005, Kamiya, a 1972 Saint Louis School graduate, has led the 18,000-member U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan.
Col. Patrick T. Stackpole, commander of the 25th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team, said the next few weeks at the National Training Center in California's Mojave Desert is "to rehearse missions" that Schofield Barracks soldiers will face when they deploy to Iraq this summer.
"This is a desert, and we are deploying to a desert. It just makes sense to be training our soldiers here," Stackpole said in an Army news release. He added that this type of training is not possible back in Hawaii because of the lack of available space.
"I came to NTC back in 1998 in preparation for deployment to Kuwait," said Spc. John P. Souza, an infantryman and veteran of Afghanistan, now working in the 3rd Brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
"The desert environment really helps you get adjusted to what you will be doing on the line in-country," said Souza. "There is a lot of room to maneuver out there in 'the box,' and we'll all discover that in the next few weeks. It's tough training."
In Iraq, Kaneohe Marines assigned to Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, have the duty of keeping law and order in the remote, forward operating base located along the Euphrates River in the Western Al Anbar Province.
Cpl. Jeff Globis, 22, keeps a picture in his Kevlar helmet of his wife.
"I think of her all throughout the day," said the team leader from Winthrop Harbor, Ill., in a news release. "It was hard to say goodbye to her, but my Marines are my family and I can turn to them for support."
Kaneohe Marines go on daily patrols with Iraqi soldiers to maintain a presence and dissuade any potential insurgent activity.
"I do not mind it here too much," said Lance Cpl. Manuel Weiss, 27, of Crawfordville, Fla. "I wanted to come here. That is why I joined the Marine Corps to begin with --to fight the terrorists."
On a recent patrol, a hospital corpsman in Lima Company from "America's Battalion," Leo Perez, came upon what he called "a sad sight." Perez discovered a 10-year-old boy in urgent need of medical care. The boy was bleeding heavily from one of his heels, which was cut by broken glass. Perez immediately treated the wound with disinfectant and bandages.
"I knew it would only take a few minutes to fix his foot up, but he would probably remember that for the rest of his life, and it made my day a better one knowing I helped a child," said Perez, a 24-year-old from Burlington, Vt., in a written statement. "The child was being tough and trying not to cry. But I could see in his face he was relieved to have his foot bandaged up.
"Helping the Iraqi people like this brings (them) on our side if they are unsure if they support us or not," said Perez. "When they see actions like this, it might (turn) a future insurgent into someone that wants to help us fight insurgents."
Providing Band-Aids to children and teaching urban-patrolling tactics to Iraqi soldiers is all part of the process.
"Everything we do out here, from patrolling the streets to convoys in and out of the city, involves the Iraqi Security Forces," said 1st Lt. Scott Perry, the company's artillery forward observer and native of Anderson Township, Ohio. "The locals are receptive of us, and we want to keep it that way. For the next seven months, we are going to aggressively patrol the streets and keep the Iraqi people here safe."
Marines from Kaneohe Bay's 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment funded the renovation of Agam High School, in the Pachir Agam district in Nangarhar province, before they left Afghanistan March 29. The regiment's successor, the 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, completed the work, which included a new well. Marine Capt. Bart Battista, commander of the 1st Battalion's Company B, said further improvements will be tied to the local security situation.
"We help the government when we can and where we can, and are always very happy to do it," he said. "But we must work together to improve security here so that more help comes from nongovernmental organizations."
"In the Military" was compiled from wire reports and other sources by reporter Gregg K. Kakesako
, who covers military affairs for the Star-Bulletin. He can be reached by phone at 294-4075 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org