BAGHDAD - Leesville, La. native Cpl. Brett Montiville, X-ray technician assigned to Company C, 115th "Muleskinners" Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, works with the X-ray machine at the aid station on Joint Security Station War Eagle, north of Baghdad, June 25. Before joining the U.S. Army, Montiville was a corpsman for the U.S. Navy.

BAGHDAD - Today's Soldier in focus in Cpl. Brett Montiville.

Growing up in small, rural Leesville, La., Montiville, otherwise known as Monty, is now an X-ray technician for Company C, 115th "Muleskinners" Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division on Joint Security Station War Eagle, north of Baghdad.

During his childhood, Monty's father watched the famous John Wayne and Clint Eastwood western movies. "I guess you could say they were my idols. I always wanted to be big and tough like they were," he said.

Using this inspiration of being the big tough guy followed Monty to high school, where he participated in football, baseball and track.

"I won a defense lineman award; I got about 136 tackles throughout my high school career. I was very quick," he said.

Although Monty was recognized for his achievements as a defense lineman, it wasn't the only position he played. He was also a nose guard and a running back.

He attended Pickering High School and Leesville High School, about eight miles apart from each other. "I preferred Pickering High School over Leesville because it was smaller; I had more playing time."

Throughout his high school years, sports weren't the only thing he thought about. He also thought about his future. "I knew I wanted to get out of the small town of Leesville, wanted to make something of myself. I knew I wouldn't be able to do that by staying there," he stated.

A friend from school was thinking about joining the service. So, he went with him to talk to a recruiter. This was when the idea was first introduced to him.

That recruiter happened to be his brother-in-law, who talked him into the Navy. "At the time, I was thinking about joining the Air Force, but after talking to my brother-in-law, I changed my mind."

The summer after he graduated, in 1990, Monty headed off to Navy Boot Camp, as the first generation of his family to join the military.

Wanting to work in the field of medicine, he joined as a corpsman, an enlisted service member trained to give first aid and basic medical treatment.

There are plenty of paths to choose from in the medical field. "It isn't just pharmacy, X-rays or even nursing, there are lots of different things you can be. Not only that, you are always learning something new, it is always advancing," he said.

During his service as a seaman, in 1993 he served a two-month tour in Viegas,
Puerto Rico. "This was probably my favorite assignment while in the Navy. I was outside
the United States and I was helping people."

Monty has always had a place in his heart for people, and that hasn't changed. "Monty is a really terrific person, very helpful and quite willing to stick his head out for you if you need it," said friend and co-worker, Spc. Eric Baker, in charge of the Brigade Medical Supply Office (BMSO), who hails from Columbus, Ga.

In 1994 Monty decided to take a break from the military life for a while. So, after four years of service in the Navy, he left as a petty officer 3rd class, equivalent to the rank of an Army specialist.

Then, Monty worked with a computer and cable connection company in Long Island, N.Y. and Alaska.

Monty also worked as a Wal-Mart shipping manager for approximately five years, before re-enlisting into the United States Army, coming in as a private to specialize as an x-ray technician in 2006.

"I still wanted to work in the medical field, nothing could change that, but I no longer desired to be a nurse," Monty stated.

To get to where he is today, a registered X-ray technician, Monty attended six months of training at Fort Sam Houston, Texas and six months at Fort Lewis, Wash.

The functionality of an x-ray technician came as no surprise to Monty. "I knew I would deploy. I also got all the schools in that I wanted to. I got my x-ray school, national registry school and have been cross-trained."

Monty's co-workers said they have the utmost confidence in his abilities.

"Monty really knows how to do his job and does it well," said Baker. "If you have anything broken Monty will find it."

Within the next two years, Monty has to make a decision-whether to stay in the
military or go back to being a civilian. "I have enjoyed everything that the Army has provided for me, but there are things that I would still like to do as a civilian."

He has visited the Grand Canyon, the Craters in Texas, the mountains of Washington and many other places. His plans are to continue on with the rest of the national parks. "People don't realize how beautiful it really is, it's different to actually go to these places than to look at it in a picture."

Although Monty has all these plans for the future, right now he is just waiting for this deployment to end, so he can go home and be with his parents and siblings.

Page last updated Mon July 20th, 2009 at 15:55