Tabasum Sharqi (left) opens a book she received for graduating at the top of her Fatima Girls High School class at a ceremony held at the Kunar Department of Women’s (click for more)
Soldiers from the Polish Army and the Texas National Guard Agribusiness Development Team-IV check their shot grouping during qualification on the Polish AK-74 5.56 mm Mini-Beryl short assault rifle Feb. (click for more)
U.S. Army Soldiers from Company B, 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke, play an impromptu game of volleyball against a team (click for more)
Dr. Mehirulla Muslim, the Nurgaram District subgovernor, addresses an audience of teachers, government officials and citizens during a ceremony to celebrate a completed solar panel electricity project Feb. 21 in (click for more)
U.S. Army Spc. Raheem Stewart, an automations specialist with TF Phoenix, steps along the rafters of the building his team helped wire for communications. Stewart, from Dallas, was one of (click for more)
An Afghan National Army soldier from Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 201st Infantry Regiment, searches a pile of rocks in the courtyard of a high-value target home outside the village of (click for more)
U.S. Army Capt. Nicole Zupka of Fair Lawn, N.J., a battlewatch captain with Combined Joint Task Force-Paladin, helps an Afghan child with her writing skills during female engagement team training (click for more)
LOGAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Army soldiers move through Kharwar District to prevent the Taliban’s freedom of movement Feb. 12. U.S. and Afghan soldiers braved more than 3 feet (click for more)
Kentucky Agribusiness Development Team II members, U.S. Army Spc. Justin Allen (left), a London, Ky., native, and U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholas Combs, a Corbin, Ky., native, get to know a (click for more)
PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The National Guard has a long history of families serving together to strengthen their community and protect their country. There is no better example of this the family members deployed along with more than 2,800 Iowa Army National Guard Soldiers currently serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, the largest call-up of Iowa forces since World War II.
Among those family members are two brothers serving in two separate task forces in the 34th Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Red Bulls, They met recently for a promotion ceremony.
“My brother called me and told me to come and promote him,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Garry Waldon Jr., of Des Moines, Iowa, and acting first sergeant for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 334th Brigade Support Battalion, TF Archer, serving at Bagram Airfield. “He’s my younger brother. I wouldn’t pass that up.”
Waldon travelled to Combat Outpost Pul-E-Sayad Feb. 7 to promote his brother U.S. Army Sgt. Brandon Corbett, also of Des Moines, Iowa, and a truck commander with Troop A, 1st Squadron, 113th Calvary Regiment, TF Redhorse.
“It helps to have a family member in the Guard,” said Waldon. “Although my brother and I have very different jobs, we understand each other. He stops by my office when he is passing through Bagram and uses me to vent.”
Family members serving together in the Iowa National Guard seem to be a tradition within the Red Bulls division.
“Sometimes you hear about family members serving together in active duty units, but it is not common,” said U.S. Army Col. Benjamin Corell, the TF Red Bulls commander from Strawberry Point, Iowa. “In the Guard we are responsible for recruiting and we tend to look to family, friends and neighbors.”
“Recruiting in the National Guard was not always at 100 percent, like it is today,” continued Corell. “I remember when my brigade commander Brig. Gen. Michael Beaman told us to go out and find recruits. He suggested finding people we would feel comfortable going to war with. You are comfortable with your friends and family. In the smaller Iowan communities, service becomes a community tradition.”
Even the brigade commander’s family follows that tradition. Corell’s three sons are all staff sergeants in the Iowa Guard and all served together with their father in 2003 in Sinai.
Corell is currently serving with one of his sons, U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Wade Corell, of Denver, Iowa, and a medical platoon sergeant with a part of the brigade based out of Laghman Province.
Although having multiple family members serving overseas may increase the anxiety of family back home, it gives the deployed Soldiers someone to rely on.
“There are advantages to serving with your sons, although it increases the potential for something bad happening in the family,” said Corell. “I have had the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with my sons overseas, and not everyone can do that here.”
It’s not just fathers, sons, and brothers either. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Darla Sward of Boone, Iowa, and the maintenance noncommissioned officer–in-charge of support operations for TF Archer, has a very unique situation. She is serving with her son-in-law, U.S. Army Spc. Gabe Lanz, of Des Moines, Iowa, a gunner with Troop B, TF Redhorse.
“I like being able to see my son-in-law,” said Sward. “We go to lunch together when we can. I even got to go shopping with him once to buy things for my daughter.”
For Soldiers who don’t have family members serving with them, they still have their squad members there acting as family and bonding just the same. But in almost every unit, one will find brothers and sisters, parents and children, husbands and wives, cousins and friends in the National Guard to serve their communities and serve their nation, together.
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BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Coalition forces killed seven insurgents in defensive operations in the Alah Say District, Kapisa Province, eastern Afghanistan, March 29.
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LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – The Afghan National Security Forces, partnered with U.S. Task Forces Red Bulls and Phoenix and French Task Force La Fayette, began operations in Galuch Valley, Laghman Province, March 25.
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KUNAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Afghan National Security Forces and coalition troops from Task Force Bastogne continued operations in the Shigal District March 18 after clearing the village of Lawsin and the surrounding area.
|Afghan leaders, coalition forces look forward|
PAKTYA, Afghanistan – Leaders from across eastern Afghanistan attended a security conference March 9 at Forward Operating Base Thunder, the home of the Afghan Army’s 203rd Thunder Corps.