Carroll County, Tenn., Troopers think of home

Story and photos by 1st Lt. DesiRee Nicely
1st Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE Q-WEST, Iraq — Soldiers with 1st Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), performing force protection and convoy security in support of the upcoming responsible drawdown of U.S. troops and equipment from Iraq, got to bring a little piece of home to Iraq — each other.

Many units, both active duty and reserve, deploy with people they know well and live close to, but Soldiers with 1st Sqdn., 278th ACR a National Guard unit out of Carroll County, Tenn., were able to deploy with relatives, lifelong acquaintances and high school friends.

“It’s different when you deploy with people you’ve gone to school with and have grown up with,” said Pvt. Brent Baker, a vehicle gunner with A Troop, 1st Sqdn. and a Carroll County native. “I’m even related to another Soldier here; he is married to my cousin.  We’re a real tight-knit community, and I’m glad to be surrounded by familiar faces for this deployment.”

Spc. Blake Speer, a vehicle gunner with A Troop, 1st Sqdn. and a Carroll County native, said that while he misses his wife and son, it helps to be deployed with such good friends.

“It’s a humbling experience for Lt. Col. Jimmie L. Cole, Jr. and myself to be in a position to watch these young Soldiers perform their missions, knowing the sacrifices they are making, as well as the sacrifices that Family, friends and employers back home are making to support us,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Butler, command sergeant major of 1st Sqdn. and a Carroll County native. “It’s also humbling when you realize that the Soldiers you are serving with are the children of your high school classmates, old friends, fellow church members and people you know in general around the community. Carroll County is well represented here by some of its finest.”

There are Carroll County natives woven throughout the entire 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, and “Cobra Squadron” happens to be home to quite a few.

“Carroll County should be extremely proud of these Soldiers and their performance here in Iraq,” Butler said. “They represent the true volunteer spirit of Tennessee and are performing flawlessly. They are making history by being part of the drawdown and the final days of Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

 

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Soldiers with 1st Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) stand for a group photo April 15 at Contingency Operating Base Q-West, Iraq. Many Soldiers with 1st Sqdn. are natives of Carroll County, Tenn., and have drawn on that bond throughout their deployment. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Lt. DesiRee Nicely)