War on Terrorism

Friday, March 25, 2011

Iowa National Guard leadership visits Red Bulls downrange

By Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Matson
2/34 Infantry Brigade Combat Team

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan (3/24/11) - The Iowa National Guard’s senior leadership visited their soldiers at Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam March 22.

Army Maj. Gen. Tim E. Orr, adjutant general, and Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Breitsprecker, senior enlisted leader, arrived at FOB Mehtar Lam to tour the FOB and meet with Task Force Red Bulls Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment, part of the Iowa National Guard’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division.

Orr and Breitsprecker spoke about the Soldier’s families, Soldiers from the battalion who were injured in the line of duty last month and things back in Iowa.

“It’s great to get a chance to come and see everybody here in Afghanistan, but more importantly to bring a good news report from home. Everyone I run into says tell the troops hello, and thanks for what they’re doing every day,” Orr said to Soldiers gathered on the FOB. “And I gotta tell you, there isn’t anyone who could be more proud of what you’re doing than I am.

“You’ve been working hard, and I know of course the most important thing is your families back at home. The sergeant major and I told you when we sent you off that the number one priority was: you take care of your mission, you take care of each other, and we’ll take care of the families.

“We’ve worked very hard for those who have come home injured, or in some cases didn’t deploy yet because they’re still injured, to travel around to ensure they’re getting good care and more importantly, that their families are getting taken care of also.”

Orr spoke of visiting Army Spc. Adam Eilers, an infantryman with Company A, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry, one of three Red Bulls who suffered serious injuries from an improvised explosive device in February. Idler is receiving treatment at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“He’s getting better every day, but he’s got a long way to go,” Orr said. “We spent Sunday with him and his family, and I want to tell you that they’re so proud of him and of you. And the support he’s getting from his family members and his community, it’s a testament of the Ironman team and what you do for each other and how we roll together.

“I’m proud of what you’re doing and I thank you every day for what you and your families do.”

Breitsprecker said the communities around Iowa have risen up to support the families of the injured Soldiers.

“A lot of times the families want to get out and come to the hospital and don’t have the money to go do that, so a lot of communities have banded together to organize some type of activity to raise money to make that possible,” Breitsprecker said.

He added representatives of the Iowa National Guard have also met with the employers of injured Soldiers to make sure they understand what’s going on.

The command sergeant major said family members of deployed Soldiers have been following their Soldiers through their blogs and media coverage. He said he was impressed with the Soldiers’ attitudes during his visit to Mehtar Lam.

“You always see motivation with this Dubuque group – you always see it,” Breitsprecker said.

During the visit, Orr and Breitsprecker received a brief from Army Lt. Col. Steve Kremer, commander, 1st Battalion, 133rd Infantry. Kremer told them how the battalion has banded together with other members of Task Force Ironman in the Laghman Province to provide security to the province and assist the Afghan government in improving the area in general.

“That’s the Iowa way,” he said. “Iowans are always making things better.”

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