425th Regimental Association

The regimental home of Company F (RANGER) 425th Infantry

425th Regimental Association 2014 Dining Out

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Dining In LOGOThe first Dining Out since the inactivation of the unit was held at the Bruce VFW Post on April 12th. It was well attended with over 100 members and family present.

2014 Dining Out - 10The evening started with time to reacquaint with old friends and comrades. Some had not seen each other in years and many of the most recent members of Co F were able to meet some of the original members of the unit. As the stories (jump lies) were told with the altitudes higher, winds stronger, and nights darker, the revelry was interrupted as everyone was asked to take their seats for dinner.

The formal portion of the evening was initiated with the Pledge of Allegiance and the Airborne Prayer.Flag at halfstaff

The Roll Call of Absent Friends was followed by a moment of silence.

Regimental CSM Dean Burchill discussed the Memorial Monument at Camp Grayling and

President Dick Anderson recognized former First Sergeants and Commanders in attendance and introduced the guest speaker, former Co F First Sergeant and now CSM Bryan Merkel of the 1st Bn, 125 Infantry.

CSM Merkel recalled his time with Company F, his two deployments with the unit. When comparing his time on active duty prior to joining Company F and his time in other units since leaving the unit, he said his time with Company F was the best.

2014 Dining Out - 1The key point of his presentation was that soldiers from Company F have been assigned to many other units and they are making a difference and adding value in every case. They are setting a new standard for excellence that is increasing unit performance.2014 Dining Out - 7

Following CSM Merkel’s presentation dinner was served. It was generally agreed that the food was delicious and there was plenty of it.

The social gathering continued after dinner and many members hung around to adjourn to the post’s club room to continue the celebration.

2014 Dining Out - 4We want to give a special thank you to the team that coordinated this event:

425th Regimental Dining Out

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Dining In LOGO425th Regimental Association Dining Out

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Bruce VFW Post

28404 Jefferson Ave., St. Clair Shores, MI

This will be our first formal event since the unit was deactivated in 2012.  This is a great opportunity to renew past friendships and make some new ones.

The Dining Out will include dinner, open bar, and a free membership in the 425th Regimental Association for all NEW members.  There will also be unit and association t-shirts, hats, coins, and other memorabilia on sale.

Our guest speaker will be CSM Bryan Merkel.  A former Co F NCO, a veteran of tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, who is now the CSM for the 1-125 Inf.  He will discuss “Life after Company F.”

The cost of this event is $30 per person.  Payment must be made in advance NLT March 31, 2014.

Payment made be made by check (payable to 425th Regimental Association), or by credit card.  For credit card payments go to PayPal.com, select “Make Payment,” enter your own email address, and CoF425thRegimentalAssociation@yahoo.com for the payee email address.  Make the payment as a gift, not a payment.

Regardless of your method of payment, send the attached form, or the same information in an email to csm@425regiment.org.

The appropriate attire for this event for members is the Army Service Uniform, business suit, or sport coat and tie, and comparable attire for female members and guests.

A block of rooms have been reserved at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Roseville, 31900 Little Mack Ave, Roseville, MI 48066 at a special rate of $79/night.  To get this rate, register in one of the following ways:

1 – Call the toll free reservation line 1-888-HOLIDAY and ask for the Company F-425 Association Reunion Group (group code CFA)

2 – Call the hotel direct (586) 285-5800 and ask for the Company F-425 Association Reunion Group (group code CFA)

3 – Click the link:  www.hiexpress.com/redirect?path=rates&brandCode=ex&localeCode=en&regionCode=1&hotelCode=RVLMI&_PMID=99801505&GPC=CFA

This rate is only available until 15 Mar 2014, after that you are on your own.

Ranger Scroll Small425th Regimental Association Dining Out

12 April 2014

Registration Form

 Name ____________________________________________________________________

Address __________________________________________________________________

Highest rank held _________________  Number of guests _____________________

Email address ______________________________________________________________

Phone Numbers:   Home  (______) ________________ Cell (_______)  _______________

Amount Paid $ ______________

 

The Purple Heart – the Military’s Oldest Decoration

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“The Purple Heart is the one military decoration all service men and women try their hardest not to receive.  But if awarded, is highly cherished.  Just looking at the Purple Heart Medal instantly reminds us that from the time of George Washington right up to the present War on Terror, our freedom isn’t free.” – Corporal Evans Kerrigan, USMC (ret.), wounded three time in the Korean War.

General George Washington established the Purple Heart at Newburgh, New York on August 7, 1782 to recognize soldiers for meritorious service during the Revolutionary War.  The award was a cloth “Badge of Military Merit” patch with an embroidered purple heart displayed on the left side of the chest.  It was the first U.S. commendation for common soldiers and is the oldest U.S. military decoration still in use.  At least three soldiers during the Revolution were award the Purple Heart.  Today August 7th is celebrated as Purple Heart Day.

The Purple Heart, however, did not become a medal until February 22, 1932, when on the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s birth, General Douglas MacArthur revived the award to recognize soldiers for meritorious service and wounds received in action.  The medal was shaped like a heart, colored by purple enamel with a gold bust of Washington in the center and the Washington coat-of-arms at the top.  On the back, “For Military Merit,” was engraved with space for the recipient’s name.

Initially an Army decoration in the 1930’s, Marine and Navy personnel who were assigned to Army units were also eligible for the Purple Heart.  In 1932, when the medal was first re-established, the soldier had to be alive and personally apply for the award.  Wounded veterans from past wars – including the Civil War, the  Boxer Rebellion, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the 1916 Mexican Expedition, and others – applied for and received the Purple Heart.

At the start of WWII, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued an executive order declaring that the Purple Heart be awarded to any member of the military (regardless of branch or service) who are “wounded in action against an enemy of the United States, or as a result of an act of such enemy, provided such would necessitate treatment by a medical officer.”  The Legion of Merit, created in 1942, took the place of the Purple Heart Medal as a meritorious award.  The new executive order also awarded the Purple Heart Medal to all military personnel killed in action.

Between 1942 and 1997, civilians serving with the military were also eligible to receive the Purple Heart.  Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent Ernie Pyle was awarded a posthumous Purple Heart after being killed by Japanese fire on April 18, 1945 on Ie Shima, a small island off Okinawa.

In 1997, the criteria for the Purple Heart was again revised and the medal today is only awarded to military personnel.  Civilians who are killed or wounded as a result of enemy action now receive the Defense of Freedom Medal – the civilian equivalent of the Purple Heart Medal created after September 11, 2001.

Purple Hearts Awarded by Conflict (as of 8/21/2008)

Adapted from On Patrol, the USO magazine

The End of an Era

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Saturday, Dec 11, 2010 marked the end of an era. Company F (Long Range Surveillance), 425th Infantry held its last Dining Out. Company E & F (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol), 425th Infantry was created from Companies A & B of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 225th Infantry in 1968. Company E was stationed in Pontiac and Company F was stationed in Detroit. In 1972 Company E was inactivated and Company relocated to the Pontiac Armory. Company F has moved from designations as an LRRP unit through Ranger to LRS. To my knowledge Company has never failed to accomplish an assigned mission. Throughout its history the unit had a love/hate relationship with its higher headquarters, always loved by the Adjutants General and hated by the staff, yet always called on and counted on for difficult assignments.

In addition to its two recent deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, it was the first Michigan Army National Guard unit to deploy overseas with all of its equipment since the Korean War. In the early 1990’s it got its regimental colors and Distinctive Unit Insignia from the Department of Heraldry and its motto, “Around the World Unseen.”

The final Dining Out was a great event with present and past members coming together for a final hurrah! It was a special event in that we were fortunate to have Company F’s first Commanding Officer, Tom Tack attend and speak to the audience.

Tom Tack (Gray Suit)

LTC (Ret) Tom Tack & COL (Ret) Don Bugg

MSG (Ret) Bill Poynter, COL (Ret) Don Bugg, 1SG (Ret) Charles Lovett, LTC (Ret) Bob Wangen, CPT (Ret) Wayne MacKalpain, LTC (Ret) Tom Tack, CPT Jenzen

A Soldier’s Christmas

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The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
my daughter beside me, angelic in rest.

Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree, I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep
in perfect contentment, or so it would seem.
So I slumbered,  perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eye when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.

My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
and I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.

A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old
Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.

“What are you doing?” I asked without fear
“Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here!
Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!”

For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
to the window that danced with a warm fire’s light
then he sighed and he said “Its really all right,
I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night”

“Its my duty to stand at the front of the line,
that separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me.

My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,”
then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.”
My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam
And now it is my turn and so, here I am.

I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while,
But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.
Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red white and blue… an American flag.

“I can live through the cold and the being alone,
Away from my family, my house and my home,
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat,
I can carry the weight of killing another
or lay down my life with my sisters and brothers
who stand at the front against any and all,
to insure for all time that this flag will not fall.”

“So go back inside,” he said, “harbor no fright
Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.”
“But isn’t there something I can do, at the least,
“Give you money,” I asked, “or prepare you a feast?
It seems all too little for all that you’ve done,
For being away from your wife and your son.”

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
“Just tell us you love us, and never forget
To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone.
To stand your own watch, no matter how long.

For when we come home, either standing or dead,
to know you remember we fought and we bled
is payment enough, and with that we will trust.
That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.

Michael Marks
December 7th, 2000

Company F Redeployment Homecoming

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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

Christmas 2009 – Operation Iraqi Freedom

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Christmas-1 OIF

Christmas-2 OIF

Christmas-3 OIFChristmas-4 OIF

Christmas-5 OIFChristmas-6 OIF

Christmas-7 OIFChristmas-8 OIF

Christmas-9 OIF

Christmas-10 OIF

Co F Commander’s Deployment Update

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Hello, all!

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.

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.

Morale

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.

Training

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.

Living Conditions

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.

Redeployment

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!

Thanks…

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

Pictures from Co F Deployment

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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.

Hello everyone

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.

1SG Merkel

SPC Spencer is now SGT SpencerSPC Spencer is now SGT Spencer

MSG Henry watching over the kids

MSG Henry watching over the kids

Some kids like having their pictures taken

Some kids like having their pictures taken

Interpreter handing out treats

Interpreter handing out treats

Hello everyone

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

SFC Bommersbach giving radio class to 1ST Plt radio operators

SFC Bommersbach giving radio class to 1ST Plt radio operators

Co F Softball Game on 1 Nov

Co F Softball Game on 1 Nov

Co F Cookout (2d Plt manning the Grill)

Co F Cookout (2d Plt manning the Grill)

Company F Deployment Update

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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

Leadership Commitment

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:

  1. We will do everything we can, every day, to ensure that we bring each man home safely to his family and loved ones.
  2. While we are taking care of each other overseas, we will work hard to add value and perform our duties to the highest standard possible

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!

-CPT GENZ

And still more recent news:

Hello, all!

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!

CPT Genz