By Army Pfc. David Huddleston
Task Force Sword
PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan, July 13, 2011 – Army Spc. Brad Cryderman, a carpentry and masonry specialist from Sacramento, Calif., serving here with the 902nd Engineer Company, 15th Engineer Battalion, was heading home after his term of service expired.
After fulfilling his contract, Cryderman planned to leave the Army to take care of his mother and to pursue a degree in business management at Sacramento State University.
But while he was waiting at Forward Operating Base Sharana Airfield to fly back to his battalion’s home station in Germany, the passenger terminal staff told Cryderman there was no room on the airplane, and that he may need to wait another two days before he could board another flight.
After seeing the airplane depart, Cryderman said, he realized he was not ready to leave the unit in which he has served for three years.
Cryderman remembered a visit from Army Master Sgt. David Milton, the brigade’s senior career counselor, who discussed re-enlistment options with the battalion’s soldiers. Milton also told them they could stop by his office and talk to him at any time.
Realizing he was just a short walk from the retention office, Cryderman decided to stop by. Within 10 minutes, Cryderman signed the documents to extend for the remaining months of the 902nd Engineer Company’s deployment with the hopes of receiving re-enlistment options after returning to Schweinfurt, Germany.
His company commander, Army Capt. Ervin Purvis, said he still is surprised at Cryderman’s change of heart, as he had spoken with the specialist before he was taken to the terminal.
“He realized he’s still part of the team and wanted to contribute,” Purvis said.
Cryderman said he and his company have been hard at work building wood-frame structures, guard towers and partition walls to help improve Forward Operating Base Sharana.
“I like what we are doing,” Cryderman said. “In a way, I am relieved that I missed my flight. I don’t feel like I got everything I needed.”