Q-West Guardsmen deploy with Family
June 17, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE Q-WEST, Iraq - Serving in Iraq is a Family affair for many Washington Army National Guard Soldiers in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment here.
Within the ranks of HHB, three Families find strong support and camaraderie: the Brathovdes, the Guenthers, and the Fugers.
The Brathovdes are a married couple deployed together. The Guenthers are brothers - one year apart in age and have a cousin, Spc. Charles Zandecki, who serves as the battery's armorer. Lastly, the Fugers, another set of siblings, also serve their country in the same unit.
Husband and wife, Spc. Gregory Brathovde and Pfc. Katherine Brathovde are in headquarters platoon together.
"I am very happy to have my Family support system here on this deployment," Katherine said. "It is very beneficial to our morale."
Gregory also has other Family members in the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 181st Brigade Support Battalion, his cousin, Sgt. Maj. Debra Clark, works in the Q-West Mayor's Cell.
Spc. Victor Guenther and Spc. Jacob Guenther serve together in the battery.
When the Iraqi climate or events cause tension and stress, having a sibling nearby helps them cope with stressful situations, Jacob said.
"The deployment has given us an opportunity to expand our horizons and to keep in contact with our loved ones, in theater and back home," said Jacob.
Spc. Amy Fuger and her brother, Pfc. Brian Fuger, support the mission of the unit as Amy prepares dispatch paperwork to help keep convoys running smoothly while Brian is a mechanic, who maintains the fleet through fixing equipment and occasionally conducts convoy security missions. Both of the Fugers are enthusiastic and work well together.
"This is a great family-supportive environment," said Brian. "My sister and I have gotten to know each other better, and we know that Family is not to far away especially during times of stress."