The Vidette 15 sep13


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The Vidette 15 sep13

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The Vidette 15 sep13

  1. 1. PAGE 4 this Battalion are really the workhorses. They have their hands in nearly every aspect of the training and daily operations at our location. From long, hot days of standing on hot asphalt to the barren sands of the desert, and dark, lonely nights of staring into the darkness this tight knit group of Specialists, with the 1-623d truly represent the “sweat of the mission”. The Non-Commissioned Officer is often referred to as the “Backbone of the Army”. But……the rank of Specialist may be referred to as the nerve system. The Army has a simple rank structure: Enlisted, Warrant Officer and Officer. Within these ranks there are different pay grades, expectations and responsibilities, and nearly every soldier strives to climb the ladder of success. Yet, one rank in the Army still stands as a pivotal point for many in their military career progression — the Specialist. The 1-623d FA is no different than any other Units. The Specialists in TTHHEE VVIIDDEETTTTEE 1st Bn 623d Field artillery Individual Highlights: Cover Story 1 Commander 2 Sergeant Major 2 Law & Order 3 Genius Bar 3 Family Release 3 Chaplain’s Corner 4 S4 4 First Aid Station 5 Motor Pool 5 Battery Block 6 Cover Story Cont. 7 Employment 8  15 SEp 2013 Vol. 1 Issue 9 It’s Not a Job, It’s a Skill PhotosLayout/Design/Photographer 1LT Gordon Deming Writer/Photographer SGT Bryan Ploughe Photo by 1LT Gordon Deming Continued on Page 7 By SGT Bryan Ploughe
  2. 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. Finally, our last newsletter for the deployment. As we begin our final weeks here at the Joint Training Center, below are some items to consider prior to leaving theater: Even if you are not married or don’t have kids, you still have family that loves you and cares about you and has missed you while you were gone. They deserve some of your time when you first get home. Although they will want to hear about what you did on your deployment, it will mean a lot to them for you to ask questions and listen to their adventures. If this is not your first deployment, you will understand that things have changed since you were gone. Do not expect to fall into your old routine when you first return home. Your family has made major adjustments while you were gone. This may be a great time to change your old routine, especially if it really wasn’t working for you when you left. The key to all of this is start talking now about your expectations when you return and what your family expects. Contact your employer so they have a general idea of when you will start back to work. If you have a job to come home to in today’s economy, do what you can to keep COMMAND SERGEANT MAJOR CSM Robert Neathery that job. If you need a job, there are several resources listed in this newsletter. Don’t wait until you get home, start looking now. You will also have the opportunity both at Camp Shelby and at Yellow Ribbon events for employment workshops if needed. Speaking of Yellow Ribbon, you are required to attend the 30, 60, and 90 day reintegration training. We will be doing a variety of activities designed for you and your family. Following the Yellow Ribbon events, we will take care of supply actions and OCIE show downs and turn in (OCP). It is easy to send your stuff home from a deployment and throw it in a closet when you get home, but what about finding it when you need it? No one likes to sign a statement of charges (at least I hope not) and trust me when I say supply doesn’t like the extra time and paperwork involved in doing it. You are responsible to keep accountability of your issued items. Accountability starts before we leave JTC. Most of you have already loaded your equipment on the connex to be sent back to the states and have completed a DD 1750 to inventory those items. That is a great step toward being accountable. Know where your equipment is and keep positive control of it. If you don’t have it physically in your possession, at least have the documentation to show you had it and know who is now responsible for it. I am proud of what you have done to support our mission and I am extremely proud of the self improvement you have made since being deployed. I want you to enjoy your time at home, relax, and catch up with friends and family, but also stay in touch with your chain of command so you finish our deployment by attending the required Yellow Ribbon events. Morgan 6 Soldiers of 1-623d FA, our deployment is winding down. 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.
  3. 3. Page 3 LAW & ORDER Most JAG’s will tell you the toughest part of law to practice is family law. It is always sad to deal with divorce or custody issues, but many of the strongest families I know are Soldier’s families. The National Guard is community and family driven. Families play a large part into planning drills and events throughout the year. We simply could not do our jobs for the Army to the level we do them without family support. Managing a family, staying part of a family, is tough from our duty location. Many times the best we can do is make S6 The pace here in Jordan has quickened significantly. Great training is taking place everywhere and we are busy packing up equipment for the trip home. Those who could, took advantage of their time and completed certifications in CompTIA A+, Network+ and the ISC2 CISSP. SPC Bottoms is out at WLC and no doubt doing great things at his course. The S6 and I very proud of the job our soldiers have performed on this mobilization. Some of our Soldiers from the S-6 shop have been tasked with other duties during this mission. They performed their duties on Base Defense with pride and professionalism. As we begin to wind down, LT Speer and I would like to take this opportunity to publically thank SFC Tomassi, SSG Emmitt, SGT Jackson, SGT Burrows, SPC Young, SPC Penick and SPC Bottoms for their hard work and dedication, we are both honored and proud to know each of you. As the "old man" of the group I feel like a proud father, what a great group of soldiers! CW2 Dale Young CPT Nicholas Carter “Morgan’s Men” would like to take a moment to thank all of our supporters over the past year. Your friendship, encouragement and strength have definitely been felt and are greatly appreciated. When we first received our mobilization order, we knew our mission would be slightly different from our normal areas of concentration. We embraced the challenge and have we have excelled at it. With the most current events that are occurring in the world, we remain vigilant and aware. But, our mission has not changed and our Soldiers continue to drive forward with their current assignment. They continue to reflect the dedication and commitment that this Battalion is built on. As our motto states, we have chose to “Seize the opportunity”. As we near the close of this current mission, continue to keep in touch with your Soldier. Our Soldiers are truly blessed with so many avenues of technology available to them take advantage of it. We look forward to returning home soon and reuniting our Soldiers with their families. a call for a few minutes a time or two per week, but that phone call means the world to you wife, husband, kids, parents or significant other. It is easy for us to get wrapped around what we are doing here and not give the proper attention to those taking care of us back home. As we are getting closer to being reunited with them, we all need to take the time to let them know how much they are appreciated. Hopefully us Soldiers, and our families, have became stronger because of this deployment, and it will make all of us better family members and closer to our families when we return. Morgan’sMenFamilyRelease
  4. 4. PAGE 4 CHAPLAIN’S CORNER CH (CPT) W. Ryan Steenburg Preparing for Home Most of us have spent the past few days packing our bags and getting them ready to be loaded onto the connex to be shipped home. This has been an interesting task trying to determine what we still need for our remaining days we have at JTC and even accepting that some of the luxuries we have enjoyed must be packed to go home. The packing of the connex, however, marks a turning point in our mission. It is a promise of the expectation that very soon we will be home. It seems fair to say that this has been a good mission, yet not without it difficulties. The separation from home, family, and the comfort of our own beds has probably been the biggest struggle we have faced. And it is a valid struggle. It is important to consider, though, that as we go home we must be prepared to reintegrate ourselves into our homes, our families, and our communities. We should not assume that things will be the way we left them. Our families and friends, as much as they have missed us, have not remained stagnant. Our children have grown, our friends have enjoyed a year without us, and our community has moved right along. This does not mean that we do not belong nor that we cannot fit back in. It does mean that we must anticipate a necessary flexibility on our part. Consider having a conversation with those closest to you either before you go home or shortly after you arrive. Discuss the difficulties of the separation of the past year. Be willing to admit that this has been a tough year away from those you care about. Share with them what you desire to do when you get home or what your hopes are for the near and distant future. Ask questions as well. Ask your friends and family how they have changed. Ask them what their expectations are. Take the time to listen to each other and be willing to share. Think now about what you might say and ask of those closest to you. Remember that one of the best ways to spell the word love is T.I.M.E. May God Bless the 623d, CH (CPT) W. Ryan Steenburg Greetings from the YARD DOGS! It is finally here as I send my last newsletter submission. It has been a long 9 months and we are nearing our 30 day window to return back to the states. We continue to work to get all of our property loaded and inventoried to send back to Kentucky. It is getting to be a very busy exciting time around JTC. I know everyone is looking forward to getting back home and getting their lives back to normal. My supply guys are continuing to do great things. SPC Toby Turner was selected to the Commandant’s List for WLC. SPC Turner was the only 1/623rd Soldier that attended WLC while we were here to accomplish this. SPC Turner also received an Army Achievement Medal for this achievement. Our Kuwait team is starting to wind down as they are closing accounts and putting the finishing touches on turning out the lights in Kuwait. The last 5 leaving Kuwait (FAB 5) will stay behind and make sure all accounts are closed. All property has been signed over and everything completed, I’s dotted and t’s crossed. The FAB 5 will leave around 3 days after the rest of unit and catch up with them later at the DEMOB station. It has been a long deployment for us but as it grows near the end I think all of my Soldiers in my section have grown into good supply soldiers. They have learned from this deployment how much hard work and dedication it takes to make an entire Battalion run. I think it has really helped our younger guys to see what it takes. SGT Thurman and SSG Hoover have become more supply conscience and will be a great asset when we return home. I know SPC Turner has impressed a lot of people here, probably more than I could have imagined, as he has a bright future in the military and maybe even an AGR. They have learned how vital it is to be part of a team and how important it is to depend on each other because we could not have been as successful as we have been on this mission if we had not worked together as a team. There is no I in team and the supply section lives by this motto. Everything comes through the supply section one way or the other and a lot of times goes without any type of recognition. I have always been told that if you don’t get called out in Supply you are doing a good job. So in closing out my 3rd deployment, it has been an honor and privilege to serve with great Soldiers, men and women of 1st Battalion 623rd Field Artillery. God Bless all my Soldiers and their families as they are reunited upon our return! S4 SFC Scotty Turner
  5. 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 Well it is almost over but remember to continue to hydrate with water and make sure you are eating while training. With the road march coming up make sure you are getting your feet ready and taking care of your hot spots before the road march. Just a piece of advice from someone that did it previously make sure ruck is tight and maybe good idea to tape your sides where the ruck will rub. Make s sure you are well hydrated before the road march and take care of your feet after the road march. Good luck to all of you doing the road march. MAJ “Doc” Hayden Would you risk your life RIGHT NOW on the condition of your equipment? This is the question PS Magazine asks us every month and the question we should ask ourselves before we operate any piece of equipment. With a good preventative maintenance routine you can feel confident in answering “YES” to that question as well as saving money and equipment down time. Preventative maintenance includes checks and services performed on your equipment before, during, and after equipment operation and at intervals specified by your TM or owner’s manual. This helps you to indentify equipment problems BEFORE they cause a system failure. Checking items like tires, brakes, windshield wipers, and lights can prevent accidents. Keeping your fluid levels adjusted properly and watching for leaks can save you from being stranded on the side of the road and save you money on costly component repairs. Making “by the book” checks from your manual will help you become more familiar with your equipment so you will know when something doesn’t look right, feel right, or sound right. It is a good idea to document your checks as well. This helps you keep up with the checks and may even help you get a better deal when you want to trade or sell. Good preventative maintenance has been the key to the success of our maintenance mission here. Attention to detail from the operators and crews has prevented many time consuming and costly repairs. Each week, we single out a system or component to thoroughly check and understand. During this deployment we have worked through all the major components and safety checks for the equipment on hand. These checks have yielded almost 400 work orders however; catching faults before they become major problems has resulted in our 98% equipment readiness average. Soldiers don’t forget to share all your great PM habits with your loved ones when you get home. Whether it’s your MRAP, motorcycle, lawnmower, or kid’s skateboard; good PM will make your equipment last longer and keep you and your family safer. WO1 Melissa Propes
  6. 6. Page 6 Battery Block Alpha Battery 2LT Josiah Garvey Headhunter Soldiers and families, As you know from the last months Vidette, we have started training the new task force 240C. The training is going very well and we are already a quarter way through the training cycle. We have conducted training with Coalition Forces on Medical Evaluation Lanes, Multiband Team Radio, Basic Rifle Marksmanship. After learning and performing each different task they demonstrated their skills on an evaluated training exercise. Instruction will carry-on into this week with Reflexive Fire Training and M240B Introduction. The Headhunter Soldiers have continued to practice their skills as Artillerymen by having internal training once a week on AFATDS and HIMARS operations. Skills such as Calculating Safety are vital and we cannot afford to get rusty in any category. With the deployment winding down the Headhunters are excited to soon be getting back home and pick up our job as Artillerymen right where we left off. Headhunter Soldiers would like to send congratulations out to SPC Dewolf and his wife on the birth of their son. HHB CPT Kevin Massengill The NFL Pre-season has kicked off. The regular season is within view. College football is back. We’ll be checking local news for the High School scores, too. The MLB is winding down to the Pennants and the World Series. Everybody’s talking about Fantasy Football and taking or giving little jabs about favorite teams and players. The deer and turkey hunters are planning strategies for blinds and stands, even from a few thousand miles away. Lake temperatures will be falling soon, which means the fishing will be getting better and better. Isn’t autumn great?! Everybody’s FB pages are packed with pictures of the kids’ first day back to school. Some look happy, some look sad, but they all look great. It’s a busy time for all, it seems. I think we are currently in the calm before the storm. There is so much to do before we can start for home, but there is a lot of waiting that goes with it. The calendar can’t flip fast enough. With each of these letters, we are one month closer. One more letter to go; see ya soon. Headhunter Soldiers prepare and maintain equipment prior to the training cycle. Charlie Battery We’d like to give belated congratulations to SGT Cody Landon Worley for being the new father of Cameron Landon Worley last month on 7 September 2013. SGT Worley is an assistant instructor as well as a team leader. With training two different local army groups here on the FOB as well as taking on another mission half way through this deployment SGT Worley is an asset and direct reason why this deployment has gone smooth. October is here and that means we’re in the home stretch. With everyone getting excited, morale is high and training is still under works as we come into the last leg of this cycles training prior to this units Mobilization Readiness Exercise. Other accomplishments within the battery last month are SPC Lewis winning the Battalion Hero of The Week. SPC Lewis is a certified weapons instructor teaching a task force sized element on close quarters marksmanship. SPC Lewis with his knowledge and experience with the training material has helped prepared these soldiers and will make them combat ready for further operations. We have another month down and not much more to go. Until we get back home to our families we will train as we fight and keep morale high.
  7. 7. Page 7 Cover Story Cont. If you’ve served in the Army, you’ve most likely heard the terms “Sham Shield” or “E-4 Mafia.” These are just a few terms of endearment that stereotype the rank of Specialist. A Specialist generally isn’t given Soldiers to lead, but is given just the responsibility of looking after oneself. They have no Soldiers to lead and no leaders to hound you, so there you remain in limbo. The 1-623d FA has an abundance of “E-4 MAFIA” Soldiers as well. They are currently deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. As with their most recent deployments, they are not filling the role of their area of expertise, which is field artillery. These Soldiers have really exercised their resilience by performing tasks that they have only had minimal training on. Here’s where the real fun begins. There are more Specialists in the Army than any other pay grade. And seeing as how promotion to Specialist is more or less automatic and based on time in service. Specialists are those who have done enough to move past the “detail” team, but are awaiting the opportunity to display that they are competent leaders. Specialist will always remain the best rank in the Army simply because it’s the one and only time you can use all of the skills you’ve perfected up to this point. You can still say, “I don’t know,” or “I haven’t been taught that yet.” You can take five extra minutes on your smoke break. You can decline to help, and if you are forced to, you can still delegate the work to a Private First Class. You’ve learned how to pretend to be busy better than anyone else. You’ve learned how to sleep standing up. You can blouse your boots like a Sergeant Major. You train to time, not to standard. Above all, remember this. If you’re going to be a Specialist, you need to live the Creed: Always let others do the work for you, and when you become an NCO, forget everything I just said and keep those slacker E-4’s in check. They think you’re not paying attention. SPC Nichols and SPC Firkins doing some good work on one of our vehicles in the motor pool. (From left to right) SPC Bottoms, SPC Young, SPC Pence, and SPC Harrison taking a breaking from being in the sun while manning the ECP. Photo By SGT Bryan Ploughe Photo By SGT Bryan Ploughe
  8. 8. Page 8 Needing a job back home after fulfilling your "call to duty"? Well, here it is! A website specifically designed for Soldiers coming off of active duty and transitioning back into the civilian workplace. Don't wait until the last minute. plan NOW!