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Postmarks: from Army posts around the world.


Kabul, Afghanistan

SOLDIERS from the Coalition Joint Task Force Phoenix conduct inventory on the crates of donations arriving at Kabul International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan. The nearly 90 tons of ammunition and arms donated by the Romanian government will be used by the Afghan National Army for training, as well as real-world missions.


Fort Jackson, S.C.

TO bring its NCOs in line with mission and responsibility change, the Army Reserve's 81st Regional Readiness Command held an inaugural NCO Advanced Leadership Training course (NCO ALT) at Fort Jackson, S.C. More than 100 NCOs from 81st RRC units attended the five-day course.

A private contractor provided the instructors, most of whom are retired military personnel.

"The classes help the NCOs understand training and doctrine," said COL Joe Leigh (Ret.), an instructor. "They also help identify mission-essential tasks and other critical tasks for platoons, squads and individual Soldiers."

SFC Camelia Pressley, a course attendee from the 535th Military Police Bn. in Raleigh. N.C., said: "The classes were very challenging. It was an informative and uplifting experience."

The course was not all classroom work. The participants had their mettle tested on the first day by "attacking" Fort Jackson's Victory Tower. The 45-foot tower, equipped with rappeling lanes and three different rope bridges, presented one of the biggest challenges the Soldiers would face for the remainder of the course.

For many of the Reservists, training of this kind is rare because of where they are located. SSG Derrick Durham, of the 160th MP Bn. and the 81st RRC NCO of the Year, said: "I haven't done anything like this since basic training. The rappeling was my favorite portion of the course."

"Initially I thought it would be too much information for them, but they absorbed it like a sponge," Leigh said.

--MSG Scotty Johnson, 81st RRC PAO


St. Louis, Mo.

THE Middle East is generally dry and barren, and can be an arduous area for American Soldiers. Yet one Soldier has used her experiences m make a difference In the lives of these currently deployed.

SGT Jennifer McLaughlin, flight records NCO for Human Resources Command's Officer Personnel Management Directorate, was deployed with the 657th Transportation Detachment as a cargo handler at a remote airfield in Afghanistan.

Soldiers stationed in remote areas rely on friends and family members to send supplies that are often taken for granted, such as shampoo and shaving cream.

"People tell you that they think about you all the time. When you receive something tangible, that makes their concern seem real," McLaughlin said.

After six months, McLaughlin returned to the U.S. determined to develop a plan that would assist ether Soldiers in getting much-needed supplies.

She presented the "Adopt A Soldier" concept to her supervisor, COL Laurie Brasher, who briefed it to Human Resources Command CSM Ray Hemmingway. A command campaign was launched to promote the new program.

During a visit to Germany, Hemmingway collected names and address of 62 deployed Soldiers. HRC-St. Louis directors were given the names of those who wanted to be sponsored. Within three days, all 62 had sponsors.

"Adopt A Soldier" is an ongoing program that HRC-St. Louis is committed to supporting for the duration of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

--CPT Monies Griffin, HRC-St. Louis


Baghdad, Iraq

CPT Darryl M. Butler, a facility engineer for Task Force 1st Armored Division's 354th Civil Affairs Brigade, an Army Reserve unit from Riverdale, Md., is the type of leader who is never satisfied with equipment that is simply adequate.

Butler is currently working with an ever-growing team of Iraqi engineers --including metal workers, sprayers and welders--to piece together his new brainchild, the Modified Protection for un-Armored Humvees.

More than 900 pounds of steel in e 25-piece kit make up what has been dubbed "The Butler Mobile," a custom, modular armor-plating system designed to be an addition to soft-top Humvess.

The kit includes door pieces, floor plates and a bolt-on "fortress" for the rear end roof, all of which put a layer of heavy steel between Soldiers and whatever the enemy can throw at them, Butler said.

The entire project fits right into the scheme of what civil-affairs Soldiers are frying to accomplish in Iraq--protecting Soldiers and employing Iraqis to help contribute to improvement of life end economic growth in the area.

"This was done out of necessity," Butler said. "With the number of coalition vehicles hit by improvised explosive devices, we bed the opportunity to do something to prevent Soldiers from being hurt or killed, and this thing does work."

--SPC Chad D. Wilkerson, 372nd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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Author:Gregory, Lisa
Publication:Soldiers Magazine
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:May 1, 2004
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