After nearly 20 years, Soldiers reunite at JBB
Story and photos by Sgt. John Stimac
13th Sustainment Command (Expenditionary) Public Affairs
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Five service members stationed together roughly 20 years ago at Camp Dahn, Germany, reunited at the Desert Inn dining facility Dec. 3 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq.
Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth H. Tincknell, the senior enlisted adviser with the 80th Ordnance Battalion, said they were all stationed together at Camp Dahn in 1991.
“We were part of the 20th Ordnance Company,” he said. “I was a specialist then and we did a lot of work during the height of the Gulf War, primarily closing down some ammo sites in Germany.
“Today is the first day all five of us will be together. This brings back a lot of fond memories, and I haven’t seen some of them since 1992.”
Tincknell, a Huntsville, Ala., native, said he stayed in touch with retired Master Sgt. Wayne Tadlock, now a civilian ammunition inspector for the Army Materiel Command.
Tadlock was Tincknell’s squad leader at that time, and said he took him to the E-5 promotion board.
“(Tincknell) had a good work ethic,” he said. “He was always squared away and made me try to do better. It isn’t a surprise at all that all these guys did really well.”
Tadlock said his platoon leader borrowed a book from him back then and never returned it. He was anxious to see if, 20 years later, he would see that book again.
Lt. Col. Lew E. Cureton, munitions support operations officer in charge with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expenditionary), said he still has the book and plans on mailing it back to Tadlock.
“Mr. Tadlock has joked about charging me 10 cents a day – tax for every day the book was late,” said Cureton. “I’ve had that book for 18 years, three months and 7 days; that would be a pretty hefty fine.”
Cureton said he was a first lieutenant at the time he was the group’s platoon leader.
“I absolutely knew these guys would go far in the Army,” said Cureton. “They are the best Soldiers I have ever seen.”
Cureton, a Cove, Ark., native, said he was excited to see his old friends all together again.
“The company we were in had the most sense of family cohesion that I have been a part of,” he said. “It was like seeing brothers again, after a long time.”
Sgt. Maj. Gene E. Canada, logistics sergeant major with the 13th SC(E) and an Austin, Texas, native, said he was also excited to see everyone and praised their career progressions.
“It is a testament to some good past leaders,” said Canada. “Our continued service is for the love of the military.”
Sgt. 1st Class Brian D. Johnson, Canada’s roommate from Camp Dahn and the core storage area noncommissioned officer in charge with the 80th Ord. Bn., said the two roomed together for roughly a year.
“This really brings back good memories,” he said. “We all used to load ammo together at Camp Dahn and now some of us work in the same area again after all these years.”
Johnson, a Las Vegas native, said he hopes this will be the first of many meetings.
“We are just five guys that came through the ranks together and now we are all back at JBB,” he said.
Cureton said he met with Canada at Fort Hood, Texas, and found out they would deploy to JBB together.
“I ran into Sgt. Maj. Tincknell here at the dining facility and he told me that, ‘Mr. Tadlock was on his way here, and I have spoken to Sgt. First Class Johnson a few times,’” said Cureton.
The experience has been one of the best in his life, said Cureton.
“I plan on retiring when I get back to the states, so it is fitting that they were with me for my first duty station and now we are all here again for my last,” he said.
From left to right: Lt. Col Lew E. Cureton, retired Master Sgt. Wayne Tadlock, Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth H. Tincknell, Sgt. Maj. Gene E. Canada and Sgt. 1st Class Brian D. Johnson reconnect at the Desert Inn dining facility Dec. 3 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The five men served together roughly 20 years ago at Camp Dahn ,Germany, and are now all deployed together.
Story and photos by Sgt. John Stimac