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  • 1. PAGE 4 The 1- 623d Field Artillery Battalion Mayor’s Cell has had a huge impact on this training mission supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. For the military, the operation of a “Mayor’s cell” is one that is a vital part of the continued flow and continuity of a camp. As the chief administrator and official representative, the mayor is responsible for the general management and for seeing that all laws and policies are enforced and that everybody is in compliance with the rules have been set by the Command. TTHHEE VVIIDDEETTTTEE 1st Bn 623d Field artillery Individual Highlights: Cover Story 1 Commander 2 Sergeant Major 2 Law & Order 3 Genius Bar 3 WKU Alumni 3 Chaplain’s Corner 4 S4 4 First Aid Station 5 Motor Pool 5 Battery Block 6 Battery Block Cont. 7 Cover Story Cont. 8 Photos 9  15 AUG 2013 Vol. 1 Issue 8 Our Definition of Mayor Maybe a Little Different Than Yours 1LT Dubree has taken over as Mayor for CPT Hodges who has just taken battery command. The cell from left to right is 1LT Mike Dubree, SGT Mekki, SGT Kevin Bradfield, and SFC Michael Hovious. Not included in the picture but also contribute to the cell in a major way is 1SG Jeffery Campbell, SPC Jordan Jewell and CPT Brian Hodges. PhotosLayout/Design/Photographer 1LT Gordon Deming Writer/Photographer SGT Bryan Ploughe Photo by SGT Bryan Ploughe Continued on Page 6 By SGT Bryan Ploughe The military is built on military occupational specialties (MOS’s for enlisted) and areas of concentration (Officers). Operating a “Mayor’s cell” is not a specialized area of training for the military. So, the flexibility and resiliency of the Soldiers’ that the details fall under is tested. This operation consists of a wide variety of things that to most Soldiers would not notice, of course, until something went wrong or was unavailable to them.
  • 2. Page 2 COMMANDER’S WORDS LTC Timothy Fanter “The leader has to be practical and a realist, yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist.” - Eric Hoffer Greetings to our Soldiers, families, friends, and supporters of Morgan’s Men. As we begin our final few months at the Joint Training Center, I would like to thank everyone for their hard work and sacrifice during this deployment, which started long before we left for Camp Shelby and will continue even after we return to our families. The families, employers, family support groups and leaders, rear detachment and deployed Soldiers have each done a tremendous job contributing to the success of our mission. For the Soldiers of Morgan’s Men, does your civilian employer support you or your family while you are deployed? You can recognize your employer by nominating them for an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve award. There are seven different levels of awards such as the Patriot Award, Spouse Patriot Award, Seven Seals Award, and the Above and Beyond Award can be nominated at http://www.esgr.mil/Employer-Awards/ESGR-Awards- Programs.aspx. Finally, as a friendly reminder, January 2014 starts the Battalion’s Re- Blue Reintegration Event. It is the post deployment reintegration training and Yellow Ribbon requirements and is mandatory for all Soldiers to attend. If you have questions on the complete schedule of activities and locations, please see your chain of command. Morgan 6 Soldiers of 1-623d FA, our deployment is winding down. August, September, and October will be busy months for all of us as we prepare to redeploy while still driving on with our mission. Let's finish off strong and most importantly let's focus on getting everyone back home safe and sound. Thanks for all you do and keep up the good work. COMMAND SERGEANT MAJOR CSM Robert Neathery
  • 3. Page 3 LAW & ORDER In the Army we often hear the term standard. We train to standard, we work to standard, and we perform to standard. The Army standard comes from Army Regulations, Policy Memos, General Orders, and Field Manuals. At times we do not have a defined standard, but as Soldiers we know what the standard is. We are over half way through our mission, at our job every day for over five months. Even if our job here is not our MOS, we’ve gotten experienced at it and can do it well. With experience comes S6 The S-6 shop is focusing on improving our technical proficiency at this stage of the deployment. CW2 Young has left to take the CISSP exam, so we wish him best of luck. SGT Jeremy Jackson has completed his CompTIA A+ certification and has completed the CompTIA trifecta of certifications! Congratulations to SGT Jackson and good luck Chief…great job team. 1LT Matthew Speer confidence, with confidence comes complacency, and with complacency comes mistakes. Though we are on the downhill side of our deployment, our individual duties are as important to the mission now as they were day one. Not upholding Army standards can be punished under UCMJ. UCMJ Article 134 is a very broad rule that requires punishment for any action that affects good order and discipline. We all need to uphold the Army standards for mission success, and also to stay legal! CPT Nicholas Carter Western Kentucky Alumni Represent in Jordan 1-623d alumni and current students gather to support their alma mater to the left and WKU ROTC graduates gather on the right.
  • 4. PAGE 4 CHAPLAIN’S CORNER CH (CPT) W. Ryan Steenburg Craving for Personal Holiness Today, as I type this thought, Muslims celebrate the last day of Ramadan. As much as Ramadan is celebrated every year, it has never had as much of my attention as it has this year. It has been quite an experience for all of us to be living in a country and surrounded by a culture that celebrates this month of fasting and prayers. We, each in our own way, have had to make accommodations for this season. We have learned to be more conscious of those around us when we want a drink of water and have taken strides to adjust our training to better suit an audience on the verge of slumber. For the practicing Muslim, they have spent the last thirty days fasting during daylight hours, feasting at night, and attending prayers into the wee hours of the morning. Writing about hunger and thirst, Henry Blackaby once said, “Hunger and thirst are the body’s way of telling us that we are empty”. At some point we have all experienced hunger and thirst. Even if we do not fast like the Muslim community, we can empathize with what they endure every Ramadan season. We also can hunger and thirst from a spiritual perspective. When we allow our lives to get to far away from what God would have for us, we can often feel our hearts crying out, “Empty!” For the Christian, this is an emptiness that can only be filled with Christ and His righteousness. Too often, however, our problem is not that we are empty but we are instead filled with self. Pursuing Christ’s righteousness means that we value the opinion of God far more than we treasure the opinions of people. It also means seeking after the fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:16-26). How is your spiritual hunger? Do you hear your spirit crying “empty”? Do you have a craving for personal holiness? Spiritual resiliency leads to strength. It is a daily activity that needs to be built by developing positive relationships, being a part of a community, and having some sort of devotional center. Spiritual resiliency is not waiting for something to happen, but preparing to be well-grounded when it does. It’s time to satisfy that craving. May God bless the 623rd . For God & Country, CH (CPT) W. Ryan Steenburg Greetings from the world of supply. The supply section continues to support JTC and other surrounding FOBS. We have had a good month as SPC Toby Turner was chosen as the Battalion Hero of the week this past month. He has done an outstanding job supporting the entire battalion and all other units around JTC. Things are starting to pick back up even more as we start planning our DEMOB process and scheduling all of departure time frames. We will be working with Camp Shelby to insure that the process thru there goes as seamless as possible. I want to remind everybody that as our time here grows close to the end that all shortages must be ordered or you will be held financially liable for shortages discovered at the inventories with the new unit. If you need any ADO items you need to get these into SFC Turner as soon as you can due to the fact that our CIF account will be close 45 days prior to our TOA date. I need all DD1750’s turned into to me filled out correctly with 5 copies to make sure all of your equipment is accounted for. You can come by and see me and we will tell you where to put all 5 copies. This is vital in case you have any equipment that may come up missing in transient from here to Camp Shelby. These will be used as an exhibit if anything happens so it is imperative to make sure you put as much data on them as you can to identify the items. The more detail the less likely you are to pay for something. The Kuwait team headed up by SGT Thurman is starting to close the accounts as soon as possible getting ready for their move up here. They have done an outstanding job the whole deployment getting items that have been requested to support our mission here. “YARD DOGS NEVER DIE” S4 SFC Scotty Turner
  • 5. Page 5 “Combat medics never stand taller than when they kneel to treat the wounded saving lives in the midst of utter chaos.” -Unknown FIRST AID STATION MOTOR POOL Hey guys, it continues to be hot outside and we need to continue to take care of our bodies by protecting ourselves from dehydration by making sure we are drinking water and eating regular diets. We need to make sure we watch taking supplements and drinks containing caffeine because they will dehydrate you. We also need to be watching out for our skin too by wearing sunscreen when we are going to be out in the sun. The medical section has sunscreen and can give it out on request. We have been doing well with gym and sport injuries so keep up the good work. MAJ “Doc” Hayden We all know seat belts save lives. According to National Safety Council wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent and have saved more than 75,000 lives from 2004-2008. That is nearly the population of Barren, Wayne, and Taylor counties combined. As much as we rely on this equipment every time we get behind the wheel, it is often the most over looked safety item when it comes to preventative maintenance. To be sure you can rely on your seat belt, perform the following inspections: -Seat belts can rot and seams can deteriorate. Check your webbing fabric and seams for deterioration, cuts, or tears. Especially check closely if you have an older vehicle - Keep you seat belts clean. Dirt in the fabric can cause faster breakdown of the material and can interfere with the operation of retractors and buckles. You can use a toothbrush to clean crud out of nooks and crannies. Use a damp cloth to clean belts. -Check the operation of buckles and retractors. Buckles should latch and release without sticking. Retractors should lock upon stopping quickly or jerking the belt. Once stopped, the belt should be able to be pulled out smoothly and freely. Once you have verified that your seat belts are in good condition don’t forget to use them each time you operate personal vehicles, tactical vehicles, or material handling equipment! WO1 Melissa Propes Maintenance of vehicles and equipment is a vital part of mission readiness. The maintenance team operates primarily out of 2 maintenance tents, to provide shelter from the elements, and a few connex’s to store necessary parts and tools in. Photo By SGT Bryan Ploughe
  • 6. Page 6 Battery Block Alpha Battery 2LT Josiah Garvey Headhunter Soldiers and families, with July came the start of training for Coalition Forces. The first two weeks consisted of preparation for the start of training. Soldiers maintained equipment, gathered supplies and practiced teaching their respective classes. At the start of week 3 Headhunter soldiers first met with their Companies, made introductions and started classes such as METT-TC, US Rank Structure, and Life on a US FOB to name a few. In the coming weeks, Headhunter soldiers will teach the Coalition Forces everything they need to know to accomplish their mission in Afghanistan. Training will consist of Communication classes, Drivers Certification, and a weeklong Medical lane to wrap up the month. HHB CPT Kevin Massengill Hello again Soldiers, families and friends of HHB 1-623d FA. I would like to begin by welcoming the newest and youngest members to the HHB Family: 1) Joshua Steenburg, Eli Iqbal, Ellasyn (Ella) Wallace, Emma Massengill, Isaac Dixon, Layla Collins and Kyle Tarpley. Congratulations to Moms and Dads on your new arrivals. Unlike many deployed units, all of the HHB Fathers were able to go on leave with the arrival of their little ones. Thanks again to the Battalion and Brigade Leadership for their ongoing family support. Our minds are starting to shift gears a little now. We have settled into a routine and the new has worn off. We have begun to turn our thoughts to the return trip; planning for shipping containers, conversing with the incoming unit, and researching the demobilization process and itinerary. Each little milestone draws us a little closer to our support groups back home. Before long we will have our evaluation reports started, awards recommendations submitted, and holiday vacations booked. The joke going around here relates to the holidays – most of our Soldiers have been in the gym, bulking up muscle, losing weight, and improving Physical Training scores…just in time for a half dozen welcome home dinners, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years; and we’ll love every minute of it! Summer has heated up to its highest temps and it will probably stay there for a couple more months. The direct sun is searing, but it usually doesn’t get above 95 degrees and there is little humidity. Kentucky’s weather is actually worse than this. The evenings are nice when the sun goes down without that muggy feeling we are used to at home (we sure miss that muggy feeling back home, though). The Kuwait team has not been as lucky with the weather and has worked through the heat of and dust supporting Jordan every day. By the time we start to load out for our return, the weather should break for us and maybe we will get to see a few leaves clinging the trees when we get stateside. Let’s hope time will go by fast as we finish off the second half. Headhunter Soldiers prepare and maintain equipment prior to the training cycle.
  • 7. Page 7 Battery Block Cont. Charlie Battery With a new training cycle starting, Charlie Battery is hitting the ground running with CPT Shingledecker’s team back safe and sound from their previous mission and plans for the next training cycle are underway. We first would like to wish SFC Roark, SGT Brown, and SGT Worley a belated happy birthday, and a future happy birthday to CPT Shingledecker, 1SG Campbell T., SPC Lowery, and SGT Gregory. Charlie Battery, in the past month has had a quite a few accomplishments. Congratulations to SGT Jessie Coomer for being named the NCO of the year. SGT Coomer was a primary instructor this past training cycle and with his prior service and experience; he is once again a primary instructor and will directly be correlated with the success of this mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Charlie Battery was not only home to the NCO of the year, but the soldier of the year as well with deserving congratulations to SPC Winchester for being unanimously chosen amongst his peers. SPC Winchester being a valuable asset as an assistant instructor, he has took it upon himself to mentor lower enlisted Soldiers on public speaking and to be more comfortable with a language barrier using a linguist. With all the Battery’s professional accomplishments, Charlie Battery is going above and beyond with personal goals as well. Being no strangers to the gym, congratulations to those whole all are members to the 1000lb club during the “FOB Strongest Man” competition (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press, Pull-Ups); SGT Jesse Mascoe (1115lbs), SGT Miller (1085), SSG Tucker E. (1025lbs), SGT Coomer (1000lbs). Another congrats to the individual event winners; SGT Jessie “Mr. Crossfit” Mascoe won the deadlift with 500lbs. SGT Miller with an astonishing 305lb bench press, and 18 pull-ups. On a closing note, Charlie Battery is accomplishing many things outside of the FOB with training, as well as within the FOB recreationally and professionally. More great things to come until the time comes we head home safe and sound to our families back home. PHOTOS Postal operations are a vital part to the morale of a camp while deployed. When the 1-623d first arrived in country, postal was only available once a week. Now, it is available every day. Photo By SGT Bryan Ploughe Postal operations are a vital part to the morale of a camp while deployed. When the 1-623d first arrived in country, postal was only available once a week. Now, it is available every day. Photo By SGT Bryan Ploughe
  • 8. Page 8 Cover Story Cont. Just a few of these items include chow hall operations, living quarters maintenance, personal hygiene area repairs, fuel availability, contractor assets(laundry, AFFES, vendors) and the list goes on and on. With a monthly budget, that most of us could buy several very nice homes with, things are actually ran very tight and having to get by with as few luxuries as possible. The camp that the 623d occupies and operates the Mayor’s cell in, has fluctuated from a few hundred Soldiers to nearly 4 times that, during its peak. Tracking the personnel coming in and out of a camp really has its challenges. The Mayor is the point of contact for EVERYTHING. He/she has to know, at all times, how many beds are available, the gender of the personnel and how long those individuals are planning on staying. Tracking personnel is a daily task and is always changing. Maintenance of a camp is an ongoing matter. In the scenario that the 623d has been placed into, all coordination of repairs, changes or improvements to work areas, living areas, MWR areas and personal hygiene areas has to be coordinated through a point of contact of the host nation. At that point they turn in paperwork requesting the repair/improvement and it then becomes prioritized and considered for cost. When most Soldiers get to enjoy some periodic down time, the Mayor and the small team that he/she has, are always on call and remain on standby to provide for the camp at a moments notice. These individuals are not only Soldiers, but they become plumbers, carpenters, electricians, landscapers, small appliance repairmen, inventory specialists, and so on. Basically, all tasks that need to be conducted on a camp, are performed by these stand alone, self sufficient individuals. AFFES PX trailers “We go where you go”, is an accurate phrase. Other than buying the necessities from the local economy, AAFEs has offered easy accessibility to some of the daily comforts of home. Soldiers require a facility to remain physically fit and mentally strong. The improvements have been monumental to the gym, where the 1-623d works out at. Photo By SGT Bryan Ploughe Photo By SGT Bryan Ploughe The financial needs of the Soldiers can be provided by the finance team. Finance is open daily now. Soldiers only had finance available to them once every two weeks, until recently. Photo By SGT Bryan Ploughe
  • 9. Page 9 Postal operations are a vital part to the morale of a camp while deployed. When the 1-623d first arrived in country, postal was only available once a week. Now, it is available every day. Soldiers often seek a place of peace and quiet to read, play cards, or perhaps enjoy a fresh cup of coffee and the MWR/USO room provides just that for them. For Soldiers to remain spiritually strong, and healthy in their beliefs while deployed, religious activities are offered in the Chapel on a regular basis. The living quarters, known as CHU’s (containerized housing units) offer a place of privacy and rest for Soldiers while deployed. From a few computers with no privacy to a state of the art computer lab with the capability to video message and Skype with cameras, the technology has vastly improved while Soldiers are deployed. All Photos By SGT Bryan Ploughe