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
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
Bn 623d Field artillery
Cover Story 1
Sergeant Major 2
Law & Order 3
Genius Bar 3
Family Release 3
Chaplain’s Corner 4
First Aid Station 5
Motor Pool 5
Battery Block 6
Cover Story Cont. 7
15 SEp 2013
Vol. 1 Issue 9
It’s Not a Job, It’s a Skill
1LT Gordon Deming
SGT Bryan Ploughe
Photo by 1LT Gordon Deming
Continued on Page 7
By SGT Bryan Ploughe
LTC Timothy Fanter
“The leader has to
be practical and a
realist, yet must talk
the language of the
visionary and the
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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!
SFC Scotty Turner
“Combat medics never stand
taller than when they kneel to
treat the wounded saving lives
in the midst of utter chaos.”
FIRST AID STATION
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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