War on Terrorism

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Face of Defense: Four-time Iraq Vet Serves in Afghanistan

By Army Sgt. Antony S. Lee
Regional Command South

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, March 18, 2014 – After four deployments in Iraq, Army Staff Sgt. Lakeesha Terrell said, she felt prepared for her fifth and current deployment here.

“It prepared my mindset for what could happen when I came over here,” Terrell said. “I had experience, so I knew even though I had never been to Afghanistan, I knew what to expect a little.”

Terrell, a supply sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, is now nine months into her deployment here. She has been stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., since 2009, and her fourth deployment, in 2010 to Iraq, also with 4th Infantry Division.

The Columbus, Ga., native said she has learned life lessons and gained valuable experiences from all of her deployments.

“The best experience [from] deployments is meeting new people,” she said. “Every place you go in the military, you should always get something out of it.”

It was early in her Army career when, as a private first class with 3rd Infantry Division, Terrell served during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. She joined the Army in 2001, and said leaving her family for each deployment has been difficult.

“I think that’s the hardest part – to leave your family behind,” said Terrell, who has an 18-month-old son. “You take the bad, and you make something positive out of it. I knew there was something good at the end of it all, and that’s why I’ve stayed in the military.”

She deployed to Iraq four different times in a seven-year period before deploying to southern Afghanistan in 2013 as the supply sergeant of Company C, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, as the division took charge of Regional Command South headquarters. Seeing Iraq grow and learning something from the culture there helped to prepare her for her first deployment to Afghanistan, Terrell said.

As a supply sergeant, Terrell manages property worth millions of dollars. She also supports different sections within the division, supplying them with equipment they need to accomplish their various missions. She said she has had outstanding leadership throughout her Army career and during her fifth deployment.

“You always hear about the bad, but there are good leaders out there,” she said.

Army 1st Lt. Israel Rubio, Terrell’s supervisor and company commander, said Terrell is the “best supply sergeant in the battalion.”

“She’s a hard worker [who] doesn’t take no for an answer, meaning she won’t accept mission failure,” he said.

During her free time, Terrell said, she often volunteers at the morale, welfare and recreation center here, where she is a familiar face. She is scheduled to return to Fort Carson early this summer.

“When I step foot off the plane, I will thank God for another completed journey,” she said.

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