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Staff Sgt. Chris Batchelor works on an antenna during Operation Unified Endeavor Sept. 29. Batchelor works in the 1st Armored Division Air Defense Airspace Management Cell and will deploy to Iraq with the division later this year. It will be his fifth total deployment. His past deployments include three with the Navy and one with the Army. (Photo by Pfc. Jennifer Kennemer, 16th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany--- For many Soldiers in the 1st Armored Division their upcoming deployment to Iraq won't be their first. But for one Soldier in the division's Air Defense and Airspace Management Cell this will be his fifth deployment across two branches of the military.

Staff Sgt. Chris Batchelor, an early warning systems operator, has deployed three times with the U.S. Navy as a "Seabee," or a naval combat engineer, and also deployed for 15 months with the 1st AD during their last deployment.

After serving more than five years in the Navy, Batchelor enrolled in college. Then the events of September 11, 2001 happened, and he once again raised his right hand and swore to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic."

Batchelor's deployments have been both joint and combined and spanned half the globe, from the Middle East to Puerto Rico.

"In the Navy I did a deployment to Turkey in [1998] in Iskenderun, I did a deployment in support of Operation Bright Star in 1999 in Alexandria, Egypt, and then I did another short deployment supporting the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit down in Vieques, right off of Puerto Rico," Batchelor said.

As one of the more experienced noncommissioned officers in his section, Batchelor will draw on his experience in the Army and the Navy to help guide and mentor the younger Soldiers he is responsible for.

"I learned a lot of leadership skills because being a 'Seabee,' a lot of times you're in a small unit, you can be 30, maybe 35 people and you'll go out and you're having to rely on each other but at the same time you have to step up into leadership positions all the time," he said. "I also developed a really good work ethic. That's one thing I try to instill in my Soldiers, when we have a mission, the quicker we can get it done, the safer we can get it done, then [the sooner] we can take a breath."

Batchelor also said that taking care of his junior Soldiers is one of his biggest priorities. He tries to give them peace of mind about their upcoming deployment and teach them how to be the NCO leaders of the future.

This deployment will also be one of the hardest for Batchelor, a native of Wilmington, N.C., because he will leave behind a wife and small child.

"My wife and I got married in February of [2007] and I reported to Germany March 7, 2007," Batchelor said. "She came out here in June of [2007] and then we left in September to go on a 15-month deployment. Then we had our son, of course while I was deployed. It was probably the hardest thing I've had to do."

Page last updated Fri September 25th, 2009 at 10:44