Red Dragon Newsletter, September 2011


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Read all about the great things our Soldiers are accomplishing in Iraq ... articles from each platoon, lots of photos, and more!

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Red Dragon Newsletter, September 2011

  1. 1. Red Dragon Families and Friends, September 2011 The Red Dragons continue to accomplish much here in Southern Salah ad Din Inside this issue:as we keep the pressure on the enemy through rock solid partnerships with our Iraqi Se- Red Dragon 9 2curity Forces, unwavering dedication to population security with local leaders and resi-dents, and disciplined and precise execution of all missions. The routine 120+ degree Headquarters Battery 3-6weather in August was no doubt hot, but your Soldier and all Red Dragon leaders were Alpha Battery 7-10vigilant to ensure we were properly cared for and ready for the extreme heat. August Bravo Battery 11-12 11-was also the month of Ramadan and as such, many of us spent numerous nights with oursecurity force partners, Government leaders, and local tribal leaders by breaking of the Golf Company 13-15 13-fast at dinner. It was a great time to get to know each other better, learn more about thearea where we serve, and discuss security topics. I am always impressed by the hospi- Chaplain’s Corner 16tality of our host nation. These leaders insist on providing meals for entire platoons and Rear Detachment 17will not rest until they are certain everyone has eaten and are satisfied. I suggest that all Promotions &should experience an Iraqi style meal that is complete with lamb, chicken, rice, toma- Re-enlistments 18toes, cucumber, bread, yogurt, humus, dates, watermelon, and many condiments. It is Photo Collage 19delicious and different than what many of us are accustomed to in the United States.Most of the time, we are standing to eat and rarely do we use any utensils other than our Get the most up-to-date information on the Red Dragons:hands. It is a very social scene and emphasizes what is most important to our Iraqi part-ners – family! While each of the batteries continue to perform with distinction throughout ourarea of responsibility, I will share one particularly special event. As part of the end of, there is a three-day festival where everyone spends time with family. An ini-tiative with both the US Air Force and the Red Dragons was to provide a small gift to about 300 of the children that livenearby. It was a great opportunity to build our relationship with the local community and ensure the children could spendtime with Iraqi Police, Iraqi Army, and Iraqi Government leaders in a festive environment. The children were givenstuffed animals, soccer balls, and toys to brighten their day. It was a great success and a superb event coordinated by ourCivil Affairs Team and the Hellraiser Battery. We have a lot to look forward to over the next few months. Our Rear-D continues to schedule fantastic events insupport of our Families. The FRG Family Nights continue to be a wealth of information and a good meal too. Octoberwill bring the second Town Hall via video teleconference as well as our second iteration of Trunk or Treat! We are also looking forward to the Red Dragon Spouses showing us how it is done in the Spouses Spur Ride! We have added one more goal for the battalion and that is to be over 1,000 likes on our Battalion Facebook page by January! So, c‘mon ya‘ll, get your Families and friends connected with us and let‘s keep the com- munications lines wide open. Red Dragons and Red Dragon Families and Friends, you continue to inspire all that have the privilege to work with or simply be around you. Thank you! BlackJack! Red Dragons! Sincerely, LTC Nate Cook LTC Cook talking with CPT Hammond during the paladin live fire
  2. 2. Another month has gone by and we are now about a quarter of the way done with the deployment. The Red Drag-ons continue to do well and I have been incredibly impressed to see how we have grown and adapted to meet the demandsof this deployment. I have had the privilege of being a member of this great organization for thirty-eight months, and haveseen how all the long hours of training have made a difference against the enemy and over the people of southern Salah AdDin province. Our living conditions here on Joint Base Balad (JBB) are very comfortable compared to our previous deployments.The Soldiers have the opportunity to enjoy multiple facilities such as a 24 hour gym, two dining facilities, PX, Local Na-tional Bazaar, and MWR. Additionally, each battery has their own SPAWAR internet and phone service available at theirCommand Posts. Each Containerized Housing Unit (CHU) is wired for American TV reception through the service of theArmed Forces Network (AFN) and either cable or wireless internet service for a fee. Our living conditions in the SamarraJoint Coordination Center (SJCC) are a little more austere due to the facility location and capacity; however, I can‘t find aSoldier in Samarra that would like to voluntarily rotate to JBB. Overall, our Soldiers have access to a myriad of facilitiesto relax or stay connected with friends and loved ones. I wanted to take this opportunity and recognize SGT Roberto Velasco from the Gator Battery and PFC MarcusJones from Thunder for their performance and selection as NCO and Soldier of the Month for August. SGT Velasco andPFC Jones performed exceptionally well and continue to meet and exceed the ‗Red Dragon‘ standard of performance. Over the past month the battalion sponsored a GT improvement class, led by SGT Bracken from Gladiator to pro-vide Soldiers an opportunity to raise their GT score. A total of 15 Soldiers volunteered to attend the evening GT improve-ment program. The program is designed to educate our Soldiers in the areas of reading comprehension, grammar, vocabu-lary, and mathematics. Soldiers with a GT score of 110 or above have the best chance to reenlist for their dream job[Military Occupational Specialty (MOS)] in the Army. Finally, I wanted to inform you that ourMorale, Rest and Recuperation Leave started thismonth and a total of 57 Soldiers took advantage ofthe program. We are in glide path to send another 54Soldiers in September. Thanks again for reading, and I look forwardto updating you all next month, CSM Soto Red Dragon 9 CSM Soto atop of a rooftop in front of Samarra‘s famous Golden Mosque
  3. 3. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 3 Greetings Hellraisers!!! This month was a big learning experience for our platoons as the Iraqi people celebrateRamadan. Throughout August we improved our relationships with the local leaders in the Balad Qadaa as well as our IraqiSecurity Forces counterparts. On numerous occasions our Soldiers have been invited to Iftar dinners, to break the fast withthe local people. These dinners have been great and filled our bellies with complete satisfaction. Every day our HellraiserSoldiers work incredibly hard to enable the Iraqi Security Forces and provide security to the local populace. Our Soldiershave remained focused and motivated and have made a significant impact throughout Balad. We appreciate each and every one of you remaining patient throughout this deployment. We understand that thereare a lot of rumors as to when we are expected to return. As of now we are still focused on a 12 month deployment with allHellraiser Soldiers taking mid-tour leave. If there are any questions in regards to this don‘t hesitate to ask on the ‘RedDragon‘ Facebook page. We appreciate everyone‘s support throughout the month of August. Our Soldiers very much ap-preciate the gifts, letters, and care packages. It‘s the greatest part of our day to hear from our Hellraiser family and toknow everything is well back home. Your support and service never go unnoticed. Finally we want to say thank you to Mrs. Megan Haynes for her service as the Hellraiser FRG leader. Megan ismoving to South Carolina with CPT Robert Haynes as he continues his service in the United States Army. Megan hasbeen the Hellraiser FRG leader since October 2010. Her dedication and commitment to the unit and ensuring Families arereceiving accurate information has been incredible. We‘d also like to welcome Mrs. Leslie Tyree to the Hellraiser FRGteam as she will be assuming co-leader responsibilities with Mrs. April Thornton. Thank you for everything you do for us. Your continued support throughout the deployment is much appreciatedby each and every one of us. Take care and we hope to see you soon!Very Respectfully,Michael RoscoeCPT, FA CommandingHellraiser 6 4 Sept. – SFC Mark Sneed and his wife, Teresa 4 Sept. – SPC Timothy Humphries and his wife, Rebecca 15 Sept. – SPC Kevin Barry and his wife, Jessica 29 Sept. – SSG Elbert Smith and his wife, Christine 4 Sept. – SPC Ronald Magpayo 6 Sept. – SPC Delwin Smith 9 Sept. – PFC David Cho 10 Sept. – PFC Douglass Miller 15 Sept. – SPC Rafael Laureanoreyes 16 Sept. – CPT Maxwell Carroll 17 Sept. – CPL Kevin Grannes 19 Sept. – SPC David Treccariche 20 Sept. – SGT Eddie Brown 28 Sept. – SGT Jilly Gonzalez CPT Roscoe with BG Mohammed of the Balad Iraqi Police
  4. 4. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 4 During the month of August, 1st Platoon has been working hard conducting missions throughout the Hellraiser Areaof Operations. The Soldiers have remained diligent in their efforts to keep the area around Joint Base Balad as safe aspossible. We continue to demonstrate what a close knit group we are. Members of the platoon do everythingtogether, from the small things such as haircuts and going to chow, to the big things like prepping for a mission. FirstPlatoon is a group of Soldiers that continue to make the Hellraiser Battery proud every single day. We have been busy during the hot month of August. We had the honor of escorting Red Dragon 6 to an Iftar dinnerwith a local Sheik. The feast that was prepared was a great demonstration of the relationship being developed between thelocal Iraqi people and the United States Army. The men continue to strive to develop the close relationships that are crucialto the end state the United States has been working towards for so many years, as the withdrawal from Iraq continues todraw closer. The platoon was fortunate enough to promote two Soldiers this month.Both PFC Beck and PFC Green were promoted to Specialist. These two Sol-diers are great examples of strong dedication to their jobs and thedesire to be the best at what they do. Soldiers of First Platoon strive every dayto be the best they can be, taking pride in their work and accept nothing but thebest out of each other. On the third week of August, we conducted refit. This was a weekthat allowed us to rest, recover, and conduct maintenance on our equipmentand vehicles. All Soldiers updated their records, retrained in combat life sav-ing, and prepared themselves to get back into conducting missions with greatenthusiasm. First Platoon thanks everyone once again for your continuedsupport as we look forward to another month in Iraq. 1st Platoon Enjoying a dinner with a2LT Zach Williams local sheik and his family1st Platoon Leader August has been a busy month for 2nd Platoon. Soldiers have been working hard getting to know the people wholive near Joint Base Balad. We are working incredibly hard to secure the future of Iraq, leaving a lasting impression on theIraqi people and to safely return home once our mission is complete. We‘d like to congratulate SSG Schones for his serviceto the United States Army. SSG Schones has served four combat tours in Iraq and is currently planning on attending Okla-homa University to begin a career in nursing and to continue his service as an officer upon graduation. His leadership willbe greatly missed in Second Platoon and we wish him the best of luck in his future quest. We would also like to congratulate SGT Lape, who joined the NCO corps this month. We look forward to his fur-ther contributions and leadership with his promotion. Also, Second Platoonwould like to congratulate the O‘Malley family for the birth of their son, Connor.We hope he brings you happiness and joy through the coming years. SecondPlatoon continues to influence the people of Iraq, and due to the contributions ofevery Soldier, Iraq is becoming a safer place. Thank you all for your efforts in keeping our Soldiers happy by givingthem the support they need. Your service and dedication to the unit has been agreat help to us. We appreciate each and every one of you and ask you to keepup the good work. Thank you all once again.2LT Andrew Roberts2nd Platoon Leader SSG Bartley preparing 2nd Platoon Soldiers for a patrol in a local town outside of Joint Base Balad
  5. 5. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 5 I hope all is well back in Texas. 3rd Platoon has had a successful August out here in Joint Base Balad. To our re-lief, the weather actually started to cool down around the middle of the month. The middle of the day can still be brutal,but we are enjoying cooler nights and the platoon looks forward to every night patrol. It is not unusual for Soldiers to findthemselves cold when they spend a lot of time inside air conditioned buildings, and they need to take periodic breaks tostep outside and warm back up. The patrol has had a chance to see the gorgeous Iraqi countryside during some dismountedoperations. Contrary to what all of us expected, the terrain here is surprisingly lush with vegetation. The platoon hasnavigated canals, aqueducts, palm groves, orchards, and thick grass. The local farmers are very friendly and will oftenoffer some of their produce when the platoon passes through. The patrol has enjoyed grapes, pomegranates, figs, and datesstraight from the farm. August has roughly corresponded with the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the platoon has witnessed asignificant change in the daily routine of the locals. During the heat of the day all of the villages are like ghost towns, withnot a soul in sight. At about 8PM the local populace is rejuvenated from breaking their fast and the streets are packed.Children are playing everywhere while adults chat with their neighbors; every eveningin the village is very similar to a block party back in the United States. The platoon hascertainly learned quite a bit about the local culture firsthand. I have moved to the 1-8 Cavalry Battalion to work as a Fire Support Officer. Idid a one-for-one swap with 1LT Jon Coffield who will be taking control of the pla-toon in September. It has been a true honor and a once in a lifetime opportunity to leadyour sons and husbands in theatre. I thank them for their dedication to their countryand their willingness to follow me every day on patrol. 1LT Christopher Koppel 3rd Platoon Leader SSG Fields and SSG Rodriguez with local Iraqi Police Once again greetings Hellraiser family and friends from the Radar Platoon on FOB Warhorse. We are anothermonth down in our deployment to Iraq. The Soldiers of the Radar Platoon remain focused on the task at hand and continueto do an excellent job day in and day out. Since the last time we spoke, the Soldiers here have taken a Physical FitnessTest, completed section level Military Occupation Specialty (MOS) training, and conducted equal opportunity training. The morale of the platoon remains extremely high as we begin to transition and pack up equipment in preparationfor our move to Joint Base Balad where we will reunite with the Battalion in the near future. If you have not yet been informed, there has been a change of address for the Soldiers here. The new address wassent out in an email from the FRG. You may continue to send your care packages to your Soldiers. They are greatly appre-ciated. I would like to continue to applaud you on the support you have shown to your Soldier. You make our jobs here alittle easier knowing that things are taken care of at home. We thank you for your support and look forward to reunitingwith you. CW2 Robert T. McDonald Radar Platoon Leader New Mailing Address Rank, Name 3-82FA, 2/1 CD (AAB) Joint Base Balad APO AE 09391 CW2 McDonald and SFC Bradford
  6. 6. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 6 The Personal Security Detachment (PSD) ‗Spartan‘ Platoon has had a rather busy month this August. PSD has aunique mission as we are a battalion asset that works directly for the battalion commander. Members of the platoon haveto be very flexible and willing to adjust to the ever-changing schedule of the battalion commander. We have conductedoperations throughout the entire Red Dragon operating environment from our northernmost boundary all the way to thesouthernmost boundary. Each and every mission PSD conducts directly affects not only the mission of the ‗Red Dragon‘battalion but also the Blackjack brigade. For every Key Leader Engagement (KLE) the battalion commander attends, theSpartans escort him there and ensure his safety throughout the entire engagement. Soldiers within the ‗Spartan‘ platoon have experienced the Iraqi culture first hand by joining the battalioncommander in the breaking of the fast meals known as Iftar dinners. These dinners, only conducted during Ramadan, arevery important to the Iraqis as it is the first time they have eaten or drink anything all day and are a big celebration. Manyof the Soldiers have especially enjoyed the Chai (Tea) that is served after the mealand are seeking out ways to take some back with them when we re-deploy. This month, some Soldiers have gotten a chance to enjoy a week of refitand recovery in which they ensure their administrative information is up to dateand also take their truck through a maintenance refit. The Soldiers have takengreat pride in their mission and feel they are truly making a difference with thelocal population in the Red Dragon Operating Environment and look forward tothe coming months as they further build on those relationships created with thepopulace. 2LT John Manning PSD Platoon Leader PFC Meza and SGT Stewart providing security for Red Dragon 6 The Hellraiser Company Intelligence Support Team (CoIST) and Command Post (CP), has continued to provideintelligence analysis and target development to Hellraiser 6 and the platoon leaders of the Hellraiser Battery. SGT Bensonand PFC Stakem haveSection at FOB WARHORSE Balad quite a bit over the past couple of weeks conducting Key Leader Q36 both been off of Joint BaseEngagements and searching for weapons cache sites. It is very beneficial to the intelligence gathering and targetingprocesses to be able to send CoIST Soldiers out into the area because they are Q37 Section at FOB WARHORSE. and have a trained in intelligence collectionmuch more in depth view and understanding of the people they go to meet. SPC Sarkady is really the ‗Big Brain‘ of the team. He is able to wrap his head around a lot of the intelligence in away that helps it make sense to the rest of the team. PFC Stakem is the calm, collected one who is able to see the battlefield in a unique light. SGT Benson is the one who wants to do everything to get the bad guys. The three of them, as theCoIST, collectively assist the Commander with planning and execution of operations whether it be from JBB, or out on theground. SGTs Weed and Thorpe are the key players for the Command Post. These two individuals came on board a little later than the rest of us and quickly integrated themselves as crucial members of the team. Their different military experiences and backgrounds do nothing but enhance the mission effectiveness of the Battery. They add their take on many of the intel-driven operations and have been able to assist with them on several occasions. While the CoIST is focusing on the intel driving the fight, the CP is focusing on tracking it. The two teams together make sure that everything happening on the battle field is tracked, assessed and exploited from every angle. SGT Marcus Benson HHB COIST NCOICPFC Stakem pulling security with SPC Greene outside a local nationals home
  7. 7. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 7Members of the Gator Family, Greetings from Joint Base Balad, Iraq, I hope this letter finds you all doing well. We have just completed our thirdmonth of the deployment and morale is still high. The Gators continue to take the fight to the enemy at every turn, denyinghim refuge, and preventing his attacks against Joint Base Balad. The Gator‘s positive influence is felt by those both insideand outside Joint Base Balad. These men continue to develop their skills and improve their abilities at a variety of tasks ona daily basis working to make the Gators the best outfit it can be. The heat of the Iraqi summer continues with daytimehighs reaching over 120 degrees in the shade, marking the hottest part of summer. August also was marked by being theMuslim Holy Month of Ramadan. During this month Muslims fast during daylight hours and adjust their daily schedulesaccordingly. At sunset they have a large ceremonial meal known as Iftar to mark the end of that day‘s fasting. These traditions impacted the way the Gators conducted our day to day business during this month. Manymeetings with key local leaders were shortened or held after sunset to be respectful of those who fast. Additionally, many Gators were privileged to be invited to Iftar dinners with various local Sheiks and Iraqi Security Force leaders. Gator Soldiers continue to lead the way. The Gators still lay claim to the Red Dragon NCO of the Month with SGT Velasco earning the coveted honor for August. R&R leave began this month and I know those selected to go this month were glad to get home and get some well deserved rest and relaxation. August also marked a change in leadership for 3rd Platoon, 1LT Anthony Forstner transferred leadership of Blue Platoon to 1LT Brian Degen on the 23rd. 1LT Forstner moves to 1-5 CAV from where 1LT Degen came. No stranger to the Red Dragons, 1LT Degen served on the Battalion staff for five months in 2010. I welcome him and his Family into the Gator Family and wish the Forstner Family the best of luck in all things. I continue CPT Hammond checking the area on a dismounted patrol to be impressed with the skill, stamina, poise, and initiative of the Gators; there is no otheroutfit I‘d rather be in. Each and every member of the Gators continues to look forward to the road ahead as we get a little closer tocompleting the mission and coming home every day. We thank you for your continued thoughts, prayers, love and support.I personally want to thank you again for what you mean to these men.Very Respectfully,Bryan S. HammondCPT, FA Commanding 3 Sept. – SPC Ritchie Nielson and his wife, Katie 10 Sept. – SPC Rafael Resendiz and his wife, KeniaGator 6 11 Sept. – PFC Phillip Fouqette and his wife, Victoria 15 Sept. – SSG Christopher Rifenbury and his wife, Kelly
  8. 8. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 8 It‘s been another exciting month in Iraq, with multiple accomplishments by the Gator Battery and 1st Platoon.Gator Red continues to lead the way having fired the first artillery rounds downrange for the Red Dragon Battalion duringOperation New Dawn. The artillery missions were the first in the battalion and the only artillery rounds fired in theDivision‘s area of operations. This gives everyone from the platoon to the brigade a new, highly effective tool to use whilein country. We continue to prove that artillerymen are flexible and adaptable by maintaining our maneuver patrols in thearea and being able to fire artillery; we‘re like the post office, we always deliver. The weather continues to be what everyone expects it to be in Iraq: Hot! The temperature should begin to dropsometime next month. PT continues to be conducted almost daily and the boys are doing well and looking fit. On the me-dia front, look for brigade to be publishing an article on the great things Gator Red is accomplishing in the Artillery world;I do not have a time table on it, but it gives you something to look for-ward to. As always, the men appreciate the letters and packages you havebeen sending, especially the food; they can‘t get enough of that stuff.Enjoy the last bit of summer as the new school year begins and knowthat your men in this platoon are doing great; we‘ll also ensure they havetime to contact you via email or a phone call as often as possible. Staysafe and keep us in your thoughts, Gator Red 6 out.1LT Michael Hobgood1st Platoon Leader SGT Cornier pulling security during dismounted patrol2nd PLT has been keeping busy since you heard from us last. Alot has been going on in the Gator area over the last month. TheSoldiers‘ hard work is paying off as SGT Shepard joined the ranks of the NCO Corps early in August and SGT Velascorecently won the Battalion NCO of the Month board! In addition to missions, everyone has been working hard inside thewire in preparation for the Physical Fitness Test coming up quickly in October. NCO‘s have taken turns leading theplatoon through vigorous PT sessions that include cardio, muscular strength/endurance and functional fitness. You‘rebarely going to be able to recognize your Soldier by the time he comes back. Gator White Platoon recently went through services in the month of August. During this time they conducted acomprehensive refit period in which they rest and prepare for future missions. All of the vehicles go through extendedmaintenance while the Soldiers perform their own refit. Each Soldierwent through all the battery and battalion sections and made sure theirmedical records, finance, security clearance, administrative data,etcetera were updated while cleaning and inspecting equipment to makesure it is ready to go for future missions. The platoon was also able tocatch up on some much needed rest, talk to their loved ones, and take careof any other individual business that the Soldiers may have had. It hasn‘t been a complete walk in the park for the platoon, though.They‘ve been out winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people ontheir daily missions while trying to stay cool in the sweltering heat.It hasn‘t been as bad of late, with some days‘ temperatures only in the low110s! Until next month, keep your Soldier in your prayers as we moveone month closer to completing the mission. SGT Velasco working with the Iraqi Army2LT Scott Smith while conducting a dismounted patrol2nd Platoon Leader
  9. 9. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 9 Gator Blue has been keeping busy since you heard from us last. A lot has been going on in the Gator area over thelast month. The guys are working harder than ever at keeping enemy attacks down. In addition to missions, everyone hasbeen working hard inside the wire in preparation for the Physical Fitness Test and the coming up quickly in October. 3rd Platoon had a good old fashioned BBQ last week; it was a great turn-out and every Soldier really enjoyedthemselves. I think the BBQ always helps the morale in the platoon. SGT Alvarez is studying to win the NCO of the Yearboard that he will be attending in the coming months; he has the support of the whole platoon. Overall, Gator Blue Platoonis in the fight and will always be ready to go. Congratulations go out to the seven Soldiers in the platoon who were awarded Combat Action Badges during themonth of August. SGT Rodriguez was awarded an Army Achievement Medal (AAM) on 1 August for getting nominatedNCO of the Quarter in July. PFC Leddick, another outstanding asset to the platoon, was awarded a Certificate Of Achieve-ment (COA) on 1 August for being the Soldier of the month during June. The platoon has gone through some changes this month. 1LT Forstner is leaving the platoon and will now becomea Fire Support Officer with our sister battalion, 1-5 CAV. He has done a lot for our platoon and we wish him well in hisnew position. 1LT Degen, myself, will be the new Gator Blue 6. I arrived to Alpha Battery from C Company, 1-5 CAV,where I was the Company Fire Support Officer. Just arriving here from 1-5 CAV, I am already impressed with the Platoon. Their professionalism and motivationto get things complete is outstanding. They made sure everything was ready for my first mission with them. For a littleabout myself, I have a bachelors in Management Information Systems from Park University and, shortly after finishing mydegree, I decided to join the Army. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters in Missouri. I look forward to meeting all of you whenwe get back from deployment. Until then, I will put forth the effort that your Soldiers expect from their leader.1LT Brian Degen3rd Platoon Leader CPL Vazquez giving muffins to local children
  10. 10. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 10 Hello from Joint Base Balad. We hope everyone at home is doing well and enjoying the last of their summer asschool starts again. The temperatures are beginning to drop here, thankfully, into somewhat cooler temperatures. While109 may not seem cool, we can definitely feel the difference from 125. Everyone over here is doing well and has fullysettled into their jobs. Headquarters Platoon continues to set the maneuver platoons up for success. Under the leadership of SSG TorieWilliams, the headquarters coordinates command and control to and from battalion, coordinating for assets and keeping themaneuver platoons successful in their missions. New SSGs Fred Williams and Jonathan Sikes have helped lead the troopsin their skill sets and jobs. SGT Glendell Evans manages a shift while performing the vital task of managing all the Batteryinterpreters and assisting the Platoon Leader in setting up Key Iraqi Nationals in the Bazaar. The Radio and Telephone Op-erators (RTO) continue to handle their duties with competence and motivation. PV2 Juan Escobar has especially stood outin his role as an RTO. SGT Justin Netherland and PFC Frank Blas continue to handle large amounts of property, ensuringthe platoons have everything they need to succeed, while preparing for future missions. New coming SPC Kevin Krugerhas handled the battery arms room with a skill belying his rank. Finally, SPC Jeffery Quinn and SPC Brian Allen have pro-vided the battery with mail and accurate personnel accounting while helping the Battery finish awards for all theSoldiers. HQ Platoon sent five Soldiers home on EML this month, and will send two more in September. All the Soldierswho go on EML look forward to seeing their Family and friends. Although we are happy for them and look forward to ourown EML, these Soldiers are severely missed here while they are gone. We look forward to the day when we see everyoneback safe at Fort Hood, having successfully completed Operation New Dawn.2LT Caleb GaaschHQ Platoon Leader 5 Sept. – PFC Fenske, Thomas 15 Sept. – PFC Brickner, Jacob 15 Sept. – SFC Gray, David 21Sept. – SSG Sikes, Jonathan 30 Sept. – SPC Resendiz, Rafael PFC Padden during a dismounted patrol
  11. 11. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 11 Thunder Family and friends, it is an honor for me to tell you all that your Soldiers here are doing great things.Your Soldiers, on a daily basis, advise and assist the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to ensure that the ISF are as prepared aspossible for when the United States Forces leave Iraq as per the Iraq/U.S. security agreement. Your Soldiers have con-ductedcombined patrols with the ISF, taught forensics classes with the ISF, and assisted them in tactical operations center man-agement. Your Soldiers have seen a great improvement in the capability of our ISF brethren and have taken pride in im-proving their capabilities. I‘m also happy to report that morale here at the Samarra Joint Coordination Center (SJCC) is stillhigh. Your Soldiers are allotted the time to call you all at home, in which your support is vital to their morale staying highhere. I‘d also like to recognize Mrs. Elizabeth Bartley for being named volunteer of the month. She has done an excellentjob with the Thunder Families at Ft. Hood, and the Thunder Soldiers, especially me, are more than thankful for her contin-ued efforts to support the Thunder Family Readiness Group. Lastly, we had a Thunder Soldier leave the battery and battalion to represent our Battery in a different Battalion.1LT O‘Donnell, an outstanding Platoon Leader, was selected to represent the ‗Red Dragons‘ as a Company Fire SupportOfficer for the ‗Black Knights‘ of 1-5 CAV. He has done anexcellent job as a Thunder Platoon Leader, and I have no doubt he will succeed as a fire support officer. 1LT KevinConners, from HHC, 1-5 CAV, will be taking over as 1st Platoon‘s leader; I‘d like to give him a warm welcome to thebattery. The Thunder Family and friends would like to thank you for your contributions to Thunder—you have greatlyassisted in our success as a Battery. Very Respectfully, Jason A. Williams CPT, FA Commanding Thunder 6 11 Sept. — PFC Garcia 24 Sept. — SSG Santiago 29 Sept. — PV2 Schnider CPT Williams on patrol through Samarra with Iraqi leaders and with LTC Cook (far left) and COL Peeler
  12. 12. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 12 Thunder White Platoon has had an eventful month providing security for the battery and battalion leadershipthroughout the Salah Ad Din province. White Platoon has worked diligently to ensure our Iraqi counterparts are trained andproficient to assume sole responsibility for the securityof the province in the near future. We have continuedthe weekly functional fitness challenges pushing eachSoldier to achieve fitness excellence while putting acompetitive spin on it. The platoon continues to set thestandard in tactical and technical proficiency,conducting weekly training on our artillery and warriorskills. SPC Curtis attended the promotion board thismonth and has been selected for promotion to sergeant;he has since been latterly promoted to the rank ofcorporal and has assumed responsibility of the battery‘sTactical Operations Center (TOC) as the day shiftNCOIC. CPL Curtis was also presented with the awardfor the Brigade Soldier of the Week for actions duringthe month of June. This month we welcomed SGT Stahl 1LT O‘Donnell Leading his soldiers during a dismounted patroland PFC Nolasco from Headquarters Platoon to WhitePlatoon as well. 1LT Michael O‘Donnell 1st Platoon Leader Thunder Headquarters platoon has done an outstanding job of upgrading our compound since we arrived here inearly June. SSG Mitchell and SGT Gifford have worked diligently to make Samarra an enjoyable place to live. Both theday and night shifts of the battery operations center have done a fantastic job coordinating with our Iraqi counterparts and ensuring that all battery operations run smoothly. SSG Welch and PFC Lyon have joined 2LT Murphy and SPC Clemeno on the Company Intelligence Sustainment Team (COIST). The new team members have substantially increased the COIST capabilities. They work hand in hand with our Law Enforcement Professional, Mr. Charles Matthews from Arlington, Texas. The COIST has worked tirelessly to uncover terrorist networks in the Samarra area and to exploit evidence brought to the Samarra Joint Coordination Center (SJCC) by our Iraqi brothers. We would like to congratulate SGT Parker for re-enlisting on August 24th and furthering his Army career. The men are most appreciative for the constant prayers and support from everyone back home. We all miss you and keep you in our thoughts. PFC Lyon teaching Soldiers how to gather evidence 2LT Sean Murphy COIST Leader
  13. 13. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 13 Greetings, friends and loved ones of Gladiators! August has been an eventful month for our company. Whetherpartnering with Iraqi Security Forces or sustaining our Battalion, the fact remains that our Soldiers are being challenged in newand different ways on a daily basis. Your efforts to maintain contact with our Soldiers has not gone without mention. Your continued support is evident inyour Facebook posts, letters, and care packages that are sent to our Soldiers. Remember that getting mail is one of the most sig-nificant morale boosters Soldiers have while deployed, so keep the packages coming. You may also be interested to know thatEnvironmental Leave (known to some as R&R) has begun for our Soldiers. If your Soldier has not already been home, expect tosee him or her in the approaching months. Our company is well into its mission to support the battalion‘s operational needs and still they are making their impacton the transition to a safer, more secure Iraq. Headquarters Platoon is mission-focused on the priority of ensuring all personnel atthe Samarra Joint Coordination Center are sustained fully with Class I (food and water). The Distribution Platoon has the duty toconsolidate and deliver all classes of supply and personnel to our Soldiers in a more austere location in Samarra. This is no easyfeat with the prevalent enemy threat, but the mission is accomplished. The Maintenance Platoon continues to turn wrenches andcomplete services, ensuring that all vehicles and equipment are maintained in a mission-ready stance. We have also added afacet to their mission by training members of the Iraqi Security Forces on properly maintaining their equipment. This partnershipwill only reinforce the bond we share with the Iraqi Army, and further the ISF maintenance skill sets.Very Respectfully,Crystal E. ChatmanCPT, LG CommandingGladiator 6 5 Sept. — SPC Graves 9 Sept. — SPC Humphrey 10 Sept. — PFC Denton 12 Sept. — SPC Malone 18 Sept. — SGT Gafford 19 Sept. — SPC Buchanan CPT Chatman and CPT Saddiq in the Golf FSC Motor Pool Bay 20 Sept. — 2LT Fonk 22 Sept. — SPC Manansala 23 Sept.— SPC Clark 23 Sept.— PFC Cook 24 Sept. — SPC Thornton 24 Sept. — PV2 Brady
  14. 14. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 14 As the month of August draws to a close, the Headquarters Platoon hasaccomplished numerous tasks ensuring that we support the overall mission for GolfCompany and the ‗Red Dragon‘ Battalion. First off, SPC Steadmon and his supply section have worked tirelessly day in andday out to support the company with the ordering of supplies and ensuring properaccountability of the battery‘s equipment. They are currently working diligently on the planto turn in over $10 million worth of combat equipment throughout the coming months . Next, SPC Malone and the orderly room staff have spent countless hours workingon awards. They have processed over 53% of the current awards for the company,ensuring our Soldiers get recognized for their dedication and hard work throughout thedeployment. Working the field feeding mission, SGT Taylor and his 92G (cook) Soldiers haveordered over 9,000 meals in order to support the operations at the Samarra JointCoordination Center (SJCC). This facilitates dining facility operations and feeding personnelat Samarra, led by SSG Martin with PFC Simmons and SPC Drayton as assistants, to sup-port the Soldiers and contracted civilians. SGT Stoller has been working vigorously to pro- SPC Wallace conducts avide the maneuver platoon with the most valuable and current intelligence information for technical inspection on a .50their upcoming missions. This provides the Maneuver Platoon with the knowledge of the Caliber Machine Gunareas surrounding Joint Base Balad and gives them situational awareness in the areas theywill patrol. PFC Legardo has been working closely with SGT Taylor to ensure that Soldiersare getting letters and packages from their loved ones. They have picked up and distributed over 3,000 letters/packages. Thishas boosted the Soldiers‘ morale and helps them get through their working day faster. So please, keep sending the letters andpackages to your loved ones. As always, we‘re keeping friends and Family in our thoughts and look forward to coming home. 2LT Hoang Le XO/HQ Platoon Leader This month, Distribution Platoon has contributed to the success of Golf Company through patrolling the streets of Southern Salah Ad Din, serving as a Quick Reactionary Force (QRF) and pushing tactical logistics to ‗Red Dragons‘ in Samarra. The challenges we face in accomplishing each mission has only caused the Soldiers of the Gladiator Red ele- ment to grow closer. Because so much of our mission is leveraged on team work and team building, we have become a more cohesive platoon. We have also combined our efforts with the Iraqi Security Forces, ensuring our presence and combined missions are effective against any malicious activity that may hinder the development of a safe and more secure Iraq. The local populace recognizes the faces of the ‗Red Dragons‘ and understands the dynamics of a fruitful partnership. During our down time, we work out at the gym, read the letters we get from our loved ones, or catch up on the latest in sports and news. We also enjoy the baked goods that are prepared with love and sent to us so we can enjoy a home cooked treat! We may have to spend more time in the gym burning the calories we eat, but, overall, we are happy to get anything sent from our Families! SPC Buchanan securing his 2LT Matthew Cline sector on a dismounted patrol Distribution Platoon Leader
  15. 15. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 15 Wow! August flew by with the platoon completing task after task and planning for the upcoming weeks;Maintenance Platoon has had a busy month. The month began with support operations of repairing and preparing theM109A6 Paladins for the first live fire of Operation New Dawn. All the preparations required long hours under the hot sunto complete total technical inspections and repairs on the equipment to be fully operational. They did it! Hot guns wereemplaced and shots were fired from the Paladins. The hard work and time paid off. Maintenance platoon also strengthened their Iraqi partnership by training with the 17th Iraqi Army Brigade on HighMobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV). Overall, the training was a success in that it gave our Soldiers anopportunity for showcasing their skill sets while serving in the advise, train, and assist capacity. The days are becoming regimented for our Maintenance Platoon as they work tirelessly at accomplishing ourmission and keeping our equipment mission-ready. No two deployments are the same, but as our Soldiers acquire combatexperience, one can see that, although the Maintenance Platoon is filled with combat veterans who have extensivedeployment experience, first-time deployers also have their outlook on the new experience. SPC Sala from Cebu, Philip-pines stated, ―This deployment (my first) has shown me a lot of new skills which should prove valuable in future deploy-ments.‖ As our Soldiers continue to sacrifice their time, they garner experience that they wouldn‘t have had serving theUnited States. We all know that it would be much more difficult to gain this valuable deployment experience without thesupport from our Families back home. I thank you for that and we will always keep you in our thoughts and prayers.2LT Amanda FonkMaintenance Platoon Leader SGT Modock teaches 17th Iraqi Army BDE Mechanics on the M1114 HMMWV wiring schematic
  16. 16. Page 16 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter CHAPLAIN’S CORNER Greetings from the Red Dragon Religious Support Team (RST)! Another month has passed for you without yourSoldier. That, however, also means you are one month closer to getting your Soldier back from this deployment. Some ofyou have been experiencing the joy of having your Soldiers come home for Environmental Leave (EML). Most of youhave not had that brief reunion yet…but you will. So, rejoice with those who have experienced it and anticipate your ownexperiences of the same. Many changes occur even over short periods of time. You have changed and so have your Soldiers. Change itselfis usually neither good nor bad. But change is stressful no matter what the circumstance or outcome, even the change as-sociated with having your Soldier back for fifteen or so days of leave. Change is the only thing that does not change. So,you can expect to notice changes in your Soldiers and expect they will notice changes in you as well. The greatest issuewith changes that occur during deployment is that Soldiers and their Families are changing independently of each other.That makes handling the change more challenging because both Soldiers and Families get acquainted with the changes allat once instead of gradually as they happen. Everyone knows the plane bringing Soldiers home on leave is not a time ma-chine; nevertheless, it can still be overwhelming to see that May, 2011 is long gone. During pre-leave briefings, we cover the topic of change and how to handle it over the leave period. We hopefullyand prayerfully share these tips with you as well. First, change occurs over time. Give yourself time to digest changebefore trying to ―fix‖ it. Fifteen days is not enough time to sufficiently understand months worth of change, so relax andenjoy your leave. Second, assume change is good, positive, and necessary. Fifteen days is not enough time to determine ifthe changes are bad, negative, and unnecessary. Third, do not makepotential, or actual, life altering decisions under the stress associated withthe sudden realization of change. Finally, express love and affection often.Making the show of love a top priority leaves little time to brood over allthat change you may encounter. Leave is only fifteen days so give andreceive love while you have the chance. Thanks for all you have to do so that your Soldiers can be hereaccomplishing the mission at hand.CPT Darrell Burriss3-82 FA Chaplain―Red Dragons!‖ 3-82 FA Chaplain, CPT Burriss, and his assistant, Red Dragon Strong Warriors of the Week PFC Kim August Newborns! PFC Michael Warren of HHB 26 July—2 Aug. SGT Pettyjohn of Golf Company and his wife, Jessica, on the birth of their daughter, Lilly Ann —born 2 August! SGT Jarrett Giddens of Bravo Battery 3 Aug.—10 Aug. SPC JC Vanpelt of HHB and his wife, Amanda, recently had their daughter, Avery—born on 30 July! PFC Freddie King of HHB and his wife, Deanna, re- 2LT Amanda Fonk of Golf Company 11 Aug.—18 Aug. cently had their daughter, Kadence Rose-Marie—born on 17 August! SGT Elliot Omanson of HHB and his wife, Aubrey, re- SPC Ricardo Williams of HHB 19 Aug.– 26 Aug. cently had their daughter, Evelyn—born on 15 August! SPC O‘Malley of Bravo Battery and his wife, Lacey, gave birth to their son, Connor, on 14 Aug.
  17. 17. Page 17 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Rear Detachment LetterSoldiers, Families, and Friends, Another awesome month has passed, and another month closer to your Soldiers returning! This past month I haveseen an awesome transition through the Families and Family Readiness Groups in truly making this a team effort to ensureeveryone is taken care. The constructive efforts, questions, and support has been growing, and I commend you all on yourtireless work. I know it will only continue to improve as we grow together as a team helping our fellow Families and ourSoldiers forward. Thank you for all your work in supporting our pot luck dinner during our Red Dragon Family Night in August! Ihope you all enjoyed the food, information, our awesome guest speaker (Dave the Brigade Military and Family Life Con-sultant), and discussion. I want to thank you for aggressively nominating me as Dave‘s volunteer as my wife appreciatedthe flower! I hope to see an even greater turnout in September; always feel free to make suggestions for anyone or anyresource/program you would like as our guest speaker. The Back-to-School Pool Party on 19 August was an amazing event and a chance to escape the heat whileenjoying some good food and even better company! Thank you all who made this event possible for those who attended.We will continue to execute fun events every quarter, so look for the next one in emails from your FRGs and throughFacebook. Your Soldiers continue to work hard each and everyday because of your support. I am in constant contact with theforward unit, and I hear nothing but positive things about the work they are accomplishing. I hope you are proud of whatthey are doing as they advise and assist their Iraqi counterparts in Joint Base Balad and Samarra. They are equally as proudof you for holding down the home front and taking care of your children and Families! As issues or questions arise, remember to use your FRG Leaders and Rear Detachment and we will assist you inany way possible. Keep up the great work!Red Dragons!CPT Chris FreemanRear Detachment Commander Great Support Services Relocation Assistance: 254-213-2857 AER Assistance: 254-213-3991 Military Family Life Consultants: 254-213-2857 Chaplain On-Duty: 254-213-3967 Chaffee Child Development Center TJ Mills Boulevard, Bldg 198 254-287-4749 FRG hosting a back-to-school pool party Rear Detachment Upcoming Events 8 Sep 2011 — Red Dragon Family Night @ 5:30 PM @ Oveta Culp 3 Oct 2011 — Town Hall Meeting @ 6:00 PM — Location TBD
  18. 18. 3-82 FA Red Dragon Newsletter Page 18 SGT Clair (Alpha) re-enlisted for 4 more years of service SGT Parker (Bravo) re-enlisted for 5 more years of service PFC Ashe (HHB) SPC Manansala (Golf) CPL Curtis (Bravo) SSG Williams (Alpha) 1 Aug 1 Aug 18 Aug 1 Aug PFC Cook (Golf) SPC Wallace (Golf) SSG Sikes (Alpha) 9 Aug 1 Aug 1 Aug PFC Juan Escobar (Alpha) SPC Green (HHB) 27 Aug 1 Aug SPC Beck (HHB) 1 Aug SPC Browning (HHB) 6 Aug * * * Come one come all!!! * * * SPC Ybarra (HHB) Buy your Red Dragon T-Shirt today! 14 Aug SPC Kodep (Golf) Only $10 Contact the Rear Detachment Commander 21 Aug to get yours today!CPT Hammond and 1SG Minton promoting SSG Sikes and SSG Williams