War on Terrorism

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Face of Defense: New Soldier Prepares for Iraq Deployment

By Army Capt. Marvin J. Baker
120th Infantry Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas, Jan. 11, 2011 – Last year, Alexander Archer was a college student in California enjoying his chemistry studies.

Today, Archer is a private first class who recently completed combat training here, as he prepares to deploy to Iraq with his California Army National Guard unit.

Archer, a Placerville, Calif., native, is part of the 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion based in Benicia, Calif. He also is a student who temporarily left his textbooks at Folsom Lake College, Calif., to deploy to Iraq.

“What I am learning here at Fort Hood is very different than what I learned in college,” he said.

Archer serves as a transportation management specialist in his logistics unit, but his commander chose him to serve on the commander’s personal security detachment. Archer’s weeks of training here went back and forth between logistics and combat as he and other soldiers in his unit prepared for deployment.

“The personal security detail training prepares us for almost anything that can happen,” he said. “When bullets start flying and bombs start going off, you need that muscle memory training to rely on.”

His training -– provided by 1st Army Division West, the unit responsible for training National Guard and Reserve soldiers for overseas missions -– included infantry skills such as weapons training and counter-improvised explosive device training.

The 749th CSSB is a logistics unit that maintains vehicles used to move supplies and equipment in and out of Iraq. Due to the projected shrinking of the Army’s area of operations in Iraq, he said, his unit will be busy helping relocate soldiers and equipment throughout his deployment in Iraq.

This is Archer’s second combat deployment. He also served four years on active duty in the Marine Corps before he left for a life as full-time college student and part-time Guard soldier.

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