9-11 We Remember· Tags: 425 Infantry, 425th Infantry, 9-11, Afganistan, Army Ranger, Co F (Ranger) 425th Infantry, Company F, deployment, LRSC, LRSU, Operation Iraqi Freedom
We remember –
There are warriors in every branch of our Armed Forces that stand watch in unsafe locations around the world, so that we as a nation, can sleep safely in our beds at night, knowing that our American warriors will protect us with their very lives. When we try putting a warm and fuzzy focus to their mission, we belittle them and the terrible price they so often pay for their fidelity.
The following video is hard core in its’ intent and execution. It underlines an inconvenient reality which many of our fellow citizens ignore. As the majority of our populace grows further away from the one real reason for our military, we take a greater chance of allowing a catastrophe to befall them, and us.
” We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night To visit violence on those who would do us harm.”
— George Orwell 1942
From Army Times, March 31, 2008
Before the easy-to-open packaging of today’s Meals, Ready-to-Eat, a soldier’s ration came in steel cans – which were opened using the P-38 pocket can opener. While the Army has not issued P-38s for at least ten years, soldiers still carry them, and they remain on Army icon.
The Subsistence Research Laboratory of Chicago developed the P-38 in summer 1942. The Army’s K-ration came with a key opening system, but the soldiers disliked it, and their complaints prompted the Quartermaster Corps to seek an alternative. The result was a small, folding can opener.
It was first issued in 1943 as a part of a ration item known as the Hospital Five-in-One. It became the standard issue with the G-ration in June 1944 and was subsequently issued with all Army field rations.
Some World War II soldiers called the 1 ½ inch long device the “John Wayne,” since the actor demonstrated how to use it in an Army training film. Soldiers didn’t need to watch the film, though, because the instructions printed on the can opener’s pack showed how easy it was to use.
Although “Opener, Can, Hand, Folding” is its official Army nomenclature, it soon acquired the popular name P-38. Historians disagree as to which of three theories explains this moniker. One is that soldiers called it the P-38 because it could open a can faster than the P-38 Lightening fighter plane could fly. A more likely explanation is that “38” refers to the length of the can opener, which is 38 millimeters. It also is possible that “38” was the number of punches it took to open a ration can.
The P-38 was designed to be disposable; the Army assumed soldiers would throw them away after opening their rations cans and began putting a P-38 in every individual ration accessory pack.
But no smart soldiers ever discarded his P-38. Many troops hung one with their dog tags around their necks. A situation would always arise in which they wouldn’t be able to eat because they did not have a can opener.
Once the Army realized that most soldiers were saving the device, it started placing fewer of them in each case of C-rations.
Although soldiers kept the P-38 to open their rations, the device proved to be an invaluable field tool. According to an article published by then Major Renita Foster published in the Pentagon’s pentagram newspaper in 1986, the P-38 could clean muddy boots, tighten screws, strip wires, trim threads on uniforms, and sharpen pencils.
The P-38 disappeared as an issue item when the Army went to the MRE in the mid-1980s, but soldiers who had them kept them. Some soldiers still carry the P-38 – especially on the key rings. The P-38 remains for many a symbol of army life.
for more information on the P-38 check out Georgia-Outfitters online catalog
From Fox news Detroit – More than 100 Michigan soldiers are back at home tonight.
The happy reunion at Selfridge Air National Guard Base marked the end of the soldiers 12 month tour of duty in Iraq.
The 150 members of Company F, 425th Infantry left Michigan in May of 2009.
After some training in Fort Lewis, Washington, the soldiers arrived in Iraq where they provided security during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Today, nearly 850 Michigan Air National Guard Soldiers and Airmen are deployed in support of the global war on terrorism.
Fox 2’s Simon Shaykhet was at Selfridge on Saturday for the special welcome home ceremony that came with a surprise.
Click on this link for the Fox News Detroit video. Company F Homecoming
I hope this note finds you and your families well. We are still plugging away over here, trying to do a good job every day and taking care of each other. We have been talking about the 6 month mark coming up in a few days, and we had a chance to pull the whole company in for two days this past weekend ahead of the 6 month milestone. We met with the key leaders first, and discussed some housekeeping items as well as some transitions that the company will be involved in as we move to a new higher HQ this month (same location, different bosses). We reserved the movie theater and watched a combination of video and slideshow with training and mission footage and photos from March 2009 until the end of October. We put out some general information and had a Q & A session with the guys. On Sunday, everyone played some softball and the HQ section put on a cookout complete with some decent-tasting ‘near beer’ for the guys. That will likely be the last time we all get together and take a break for a while since we’ll continue to be busy with missions.
The mission set we’ve been doing since we became “Battlespace Owners” on August 25th has kept everyone extremely busy. The LRS platoons rotate in and out of sector and provide security in the area and focus on finding and detaining locals who are up to no good. The operational tempo eased up a bit towards the beginning of October, but everyone is still busy with the various types of missions we are tasked with. In addition to the security-related missions the guys do, it is very common for LRS platoons as well as the headquarters element to sit down with local village leaders, drink chai with them, and discuss any concerns they have about their particular village’s situation. Today we had one element in sector doing security-related tasks, and another element went to a village to distribute 50 bags of food as part of a humanitarian assistance (HA) drop. We’re working to initiate reconstruction projects, starting with the renovation of a girls’ school, the renovation of a health clinic, and the installation of street lights in the market area of a city we work in frequently.
One of the main focuses in Iraq over the next few months will be setting the conditions for a successful election on January 16th, 2010. Because the area we’re in is called a “disputed area” in terms of Kurd / Arab tensions, the work we’re doing is important in the bigger picture of enabling Iraqi’s to pull off the election in January.
The majority of the guys I talk to tell me they know the deal about morale during a deployment, and they tell me things are “fine.” But, most guys will tend to give an overly positive response when talking to me as opposed to their buddy at the gym. We joked around last month about how we should “enjoy October” because you don’t know what’s waiting for us after that. Here’s what I see in terms of how the guys are doing: Some think we’re too busy, some don’t think we’re busy enough. We have the same cross-section of issues and concerns that any deployed unit faces. We invited some external folks to come in and do a survey for us in order to get an accurate read on how the unit is doing in terms of morale and welfare. 33% of the guys said their morale was “medium”, 27% said it was “high”, and 12.6% said it was “very high”. (I think the 12.6% must be going on leave this month!) Personally, I’d tell you that “medium” is a good day in a combat zone.
When asked how confident they were that the “unit can perform its mission”, 45% said “agree” and 44% said “strongly agree.”
Everyone gets annoyed about having to do surveys, but it’s important for the chain of command to keep their finger on the pulse of the morale and welfare within the unit. It’s the same type of thing with the FRG back home…being plugged in and knowing how families are doing helps out a lot.
We’ve been able to pull off some pretty cool training with rotary wing assets (helicopters) everywhere we’ve gone since May. We’ve recently conducted joint training exercises with Iraqi Army Commando’s focusing on air assault missions and other tactical tasks. All of the platoons and sections have been proactive in “sharpening the saw” by going to the range to fire their weapons, conducting training on the various communications packages we use, or just doing rehearsals before they go out on a mission. It gives me a lot of confidence to see that leaders at all levels of this organization take training seriously and understand that keeping our skills honed even while deployed is a critical task.
Even though news outlets have reported that troop levels will be drastically reduced over the coming months, the lines at the gym and the chow hall keep getting longer and longer! November is another transition for everyone on this base. Our higher headquarters will be leaving, and we’ll be working for the 3-73 CAV from the 82nd Airborne. In the meantime, there are a lot more people on the base while these units conduct their battle handoff tasks. We’ve had to consolidate living spaces temporarily, as well.
The rainy season is here, which means lots of mud on the base, and more challenges when working outside the wire for days at a time. As always, though, the guys continue to rise to the occasion and exceed expectations.
On November 9th, we hit the 6 month milestone (184 days) from when we went on “title 10” orders or active duty. The leadership team will start working on the redeployment planning and preparation on a weekly basis at that point. I don’t have any specific information about exactly when we’ll be headed home, but this “halfway point” is when we start digging into a lot of those details. As soon as we have information to put out about an estimated return timeframe, we’ll send it out.
Redeployment planning will be a ton of work, but I don’t think anyone will complain about working on this project!
I want to thank each and every one of you reading this for the sacrifices you make every day. Our Soldiers’ strength comes from the strength of our families, no question about it. As I hear about the challenges many of you face every day, whether it’s the struggle to get the kids ready and dropped off in the morning, or the never-ending balancing act of juggling priorities that you manage while we’re gone. I know how hard it is for me to get two girls dressed in something that resembles a matching outfit and get them somewhere on time…I give you all a ton of credit and respect for handling all of those things and so much more every day. The sacrifices we make to serve our country are echoed and amplified in all of our homes on a daily basis. When we say we couldn’t do it without you, we really mean it. So, thank you. Thank you for the courage and strength you demonstrate every day of this deployment. Thank you for the care packages and the thoughts and prayers. And most of all, thank you for the love, dedication, and commitment you have for these Soldiers. Our gratitude is deep and heartfelt.
Thank you to everyone who has been able to help out with the FRG. I was very thankful last year when Tammy agreed to lead our FRG for this deployment. The professionalism and genuine commitment to our families’ well being is evidenced in everything she does. The team of volunteers has really come through for us. I appreciate everyone’s work to plan the mid-tour briefs. The lines of communication and support network have remained consistently reliable and effective.
I hope you and your loved ones have a great November!
CPT Brian Genz
I’ve been delinquent in posting all of the pictures sent from Co F while they are deployed to operation Iraqi Freedom but here is an update.
We hope things are going well back home for you. This morning was probably the coolest we have seen the temperature since being here. It still felt a little cool at 9am. All the men are still keeping busy and doing very well. Below are some more pictures. There are some of us out in the villages where there is a never ending supply of kids! As soon as the trucks stop they come running. They all know how to say the things they want in english! “Football”(soccer ball), “pencil”, “chocolate”, and “you give me”. If any of you want to send things for the kids we’ll make sure it gets out to them.
SPC Spencer is now SGT Spencer
Time is ticking by and some days it’s hard to believe we’re closing in on the halfway point.
The men are doing a great job and are impressing those around them with their professionalism and can-do attitude. Weather here has turned to rain the last few days. Our compound has a lake in the middle of it that the guys are joking about putting fish in and buying some fishing poles! After the rain we received about a month ago we were spoiled with beautiful sunny days up until now. Many of us to include myself have been waking up to water in our CHUs because of leaky roofs. KBR has busy trying to fix all the leaks by re-sealing roofs. Our leave program is still on schedule and the men are enjoying their time at home with family and friends. I see them refreshed when they return and it’s good to see. Just a reminder to please be flexible because flights sometimes change and it’s very hard say exactly when they will get home. And, know that CPT Genz and I are doing everything we can to ensure everyone gets the opportunity to go.
This weekend most of the company was able to take a little break. We had a softball game and a cook out today.
Take care everyone and I hope you enjoy the pictures.
SGM Bryan Merkel
1. You refine heroin for a living, but you have a moral objection to beer.
2. You own a $3,000 machine gun and $5,000 rocket launcher, but you can’t afford shoes.
3. You have more wives than teeth.
4. You wipe your butt with your bare hand, but consider bacon “unclean.”
5. You think vests come in two styles: bullet-proof and suicide.
6. You can’t think of anyone you haven’t declared Jihad against.
7. You consider television dangerous, but routinely carry explosives in your clothing.
8. You were amazed to discover that cell phones have uses other than setting off roadside bombs.
9. You have nothing against women and think every man should own at least one.
10. You’ve always had a crush on your neighbor’s goat.
Courtesy of the Patriot Post
If you want to get a penpal with the unit while they are deployed, you can send them mail and CARE packages at:
Rank, Full Name
F / 425th IN, 504th BFSB
APO AE 09351
An address was given out to the men earlier that will still get the mail here if anything has been sent using it. The only thing missing off of the first address we got was the “504th BFSB”
By the way – BFSB stands for “Battlefield Survellance Brigade”
Greetings from F Company
We hope this note finds you and your family well. After a busy couple of months at Ft. Lewis, it’s time to move on to the next stop in our journey. The men trained hard and stayed focused on getting themselves and the whole team ready for the deployment. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from all of the folks we interacted with. It was great to have a four-day pass with our families…That was a well-deserved break that meant a lot to everyone.
What Comes Next
Please remember that the leaders of F Company, starting with the Commander and First Sergeant through every level of our organization, are committed to two things:
When we all focus on those basics overseas, we will stay focused as one team moving in the right direction
Thank you for all of the support we receive from our families. We could do this challenging job without you!
And still more recent news:
Kuwait is the “Theater Gateway” for troops headed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The first couple of days on the ground are supposed to be “down days” to give Soldiers a chance to get adjusted to the climate. It’s 2 am on Monday, July 13th as I’m writing this–Saturday and Sunday were the down days for us. The guys got situated in the air-conditioned tents, & had a chance to catch up on some sleep and get the body clock adjusted to the local time.
Today, Monday the 13th, we start a series of training events including mandatory briefings, MRAP driver training (these are the mine-resistant vehicles that make up part of our vehicle inventory in country), some quick range time for shooting / zeroing our weapons, and some general classes. The majority of this training is scheduled for “normal business hours”, so Soldiers should be able to continue getting acclimatized and adjusted to this environment.
The weather here is about what we expected…Kind of like someone blowing a giant hair dryer at you all day…windy and 130 degrees, with lots of sand blowing all over. Other guys have said that it feels like standing behind a C-130 (aircraft) with the exhaust blowing hot air.
When the guys aren’t training, a lot of them are going to the gym, the 24 hour PX, the recreation center (There are movie stations and a few X-Box 360 stations.) Most people will be over the jet lag in the next day or so, I think. There are a lot (and I mean a LOT) of rules in Kuwait. Everyone is being a good sport about playing along and staying focused on getting through Kuwait to our final destination ready to work.
As with the last major movement, we’ve told everyone not to discuss timelines / details. In general, I expect to be in Kuwait for a little over a week. We’ll send confirmation once we’ve arrived at our final destination.
Our first two Soldiers, SGT Beaver and SGT Tinkham, have already pushed up north to our final destination in order to get started on the inventories of equipment we’re falling in on. We also have some follow-on personnel that moved to Ft. Benning on July 11th. They will be at the CRC (facility for individual mobilizations) for a little over a week, then moving to Kuwait. We’re looking forward to the gang getting back together soon!
I hope everyone has a good week!