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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army Capt. Jason Merchant, the company commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, Task Force Ironman from Dysart, Iowa, hands out cards Dec. (click for more)

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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Lauren Hyman of Texarkana, Texas, armored vehicle driver for the 64th Military Police Company based at Combat Oupost Fortress, says hello to an (click for more)

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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Taylor Gingrich, an infantry officer from Cedar Falls, Iowa, with Task Force Ironman, draws a smile from an Afghan boy as Gingrich (click for more)

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LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spc. Brian Stowe, a human resources specialist from Elkmont, Ala., with Task Force Knighthawk, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, sings a ballad he wrote and (click for more)

Guard team partners with Afghan security forces

PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Servicemembers defend the wall after an improvised explosive device detonates on Forward Operating Base Lightning Dec. 5. (click for more)

French forces support Afghan troops in Kapisa

KAPISA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan and French military chiefs conduct a briefing before deployment during a security operation. Afghan National Security Forces and French Task Force Richelieu conducted Operation Montevideo (click for more)

Panjshir PRT engineers inspect Paryan road

PANJSHIR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Phil Compton, Doty, Wash., Panjshir PRT engineer, and PRT local Afghan engineer Abid Wardak check the structural integrity of the retaining (click for more)

TF White Eagle saves lives of mother, infant

GHAZNI PROVINCE, Afghanistan – An Afghan family looks at their new family member after she was delivered by the Polish Army medical team at Forward Operating Base Warrior Jan. 3. (click for more)

1st Bn., 187th Inf. Regt., patrols Sabari District

KHOWST PROVINCE, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from 2nd Platoon, Company B, 1st Battalion 187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, maneuver through Sabari District during patrols to disrupt insurgent activity in the (click for more)

Freedom Restoration Center helps troops get back to duty

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Sgt. Shawn Fouste, Decatur, Ill., noncommissioned officer in charge of the Freedom Restoration Center with the 455th Expeditionary Wing, Task Force Med, plays with (click for more)

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PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spcs. Joel Howard (left) and Bryan Couillard, both infantrymen providing security for the Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team, and both from Lowell, Mass., prepare for a patrol at Forward Operating Base Gardez Dec. 15. After having met in high school and graduating basic combat training together, they are now deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Barry Loo, Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team Public Affairs)PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Two high school friends now work side by side as infantrymen in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.



U.S. Army Spcs. Bryan Couillard and Joel Howard, both from Lowell, Mass., met in history class during their sophomore year at Dracut High School. They learned, played sports and got in trouble together.

But not too much trouble.

When their high school years came to an end, it was time to transition to the adult world. Howard decided to join the Army first as a way to pay for college and “get a good head” on his shoulders, as he puts it.

Couillard soon followed his friend, wanting to change the direction his life was heading.

“It just (kind of) clicked. Join the Army and then maybe you can straighten out your life; be a little more self-confident doing something good,” said Couillard.

They showed up together for basic combat training at Fort Benning, Ga., March 5, 2008, and went though the course side by side as “battle buddies,” an Army term for your partner in both garrison and combat.

Both Soldiers agreed their friendship helped them through the rigorous training.

“It was definitely easier going through basic training with one of your best friends by your side,” Howard said.

They graduated boot camp from the same platoon then joined the same squad of Company C, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, a Massachusetts National Guard unit based out of Cambridge, Mass.  

Both Howard and Coulliard agree joining the Army gave them benefits they probably wouldn’t have gotten if they stayed civilians.

“I'm definitely a lot stronger mentally and physically,” Howard said.

“You put on this uniform and it makes you feel like a completely different person. It gives you some pride,” said Couillard.

Now their unit is serving in Afghanistan as the security force for Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team helping the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan provide public services and development projects.

Together, they escort subject-matter experts to schools, clinics and meetings with village elders throughout the province. These missions provide meaningful experiences they couldn’t have imagined while they were still in high school.

“It’s definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Howard said.PAKTYA PROVINCE, Afghanistan – U.S. Army Spcs. Bryan Couillard (left) and Joel Howard, both infantrymen providing security for the Paktya Provincial Reconstruction Team, and both from Lowell, Mass., prepare to graduate infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga., June 2008. Soon after, they joined the same squad of Company C, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, Massachusetts National Guard, based out of Cambridge, Mass. (Courtesy photo)

 

تاريخ آخر تحديث: الجمعة, 17 كانون1/ديسمبر 2010 01:21
 

    

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