Archive: First Army

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  • 1,700 Soldiers made it home for the holidays

    Jan 11, 2013

    Before leaving theater, Col. Geoffrey Slack, the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander, stressed the importance of the process to Soldiers and their families, asking them to slow down and take full advantage of the individually based demobilization process.

  • LEAP award winners lauded at Pentagon ceremony

    Jan 10, 2013

    For the fifth year now, practitioners of Lean Six Sigma were recognized, Jan. 10, 2013, for streamlining Army business processes that help save the Army money.

  • Combatives instructors train for combat

    Jan 4, 2013

    "Our trainers have gained an outstanding reputation for their skills and willingness to assist other organizations," commented Col. Craig A. Osborne, commander, 174th Inf Bde. "In addition to the standard mobilization and internal brigade training, we recently trained members of the Air Force Apprehension Avoidance program, the Joint Terrorism Task Force with New York Police Department/FBI, conducted a combatives orientation at West Point, have been conducting monthly training with Philadelphia area Army recruits, and are developing a partnership with three local university ROTC programs." "We train all branches of services here, including the Coast Guard," said Sgt. Miles Noonan, a 174th Inf Bde MACP instructor. "We train civilians as well. In fact, we've teamed up with the Federal Bureau of Investigation field agents from areas ranging from Virginia to upstate New York."

  • Local VFW post names Division West Soldier Teacher of Year

    Jan 4, 2013

    COPPERAS COVE, Texas -- Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8577 named William Brown its 2012 K-5 Teacher of the Year in a Dec. 21 ceremony at Fairview/Miss Jewell Elementary School here. Brown, who has taught fifth grade social studies at the school for four years, is also an Army Reserve captain and commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-381st Training Support Battalion, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West.

  • Sumrall 6th grade students welcome returning Soldiers

    Jan 2, 2013

    CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Trimming the tree, wrapping presents or making wreaths are beloved traditions of the holidays. Sixth grade students at Sumrall Middle School started their own holiday tradition this year, naming the occasion Adopt-a-Soldier. The students not only gave South Carolina National Guard Soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 118th Infantry Regiment, a hero's welcome, but also a holiday surprise. The Soldiers recently returned from a deployment security-force in Kuwait.

  • Texas Reserve engineers learn recovery operations

    Dec 26, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently conducted vehicle recovery operations training here for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 321st Engineer Company out of Conroe, Texas. The engineers are preparing for their deployment to Afghanistan. (Photos courtesy 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • 'Renegade' motorcyclists ride to promote safety

    Dec 26, 2012

    Motorcycle enthusiasts from the 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery, Task Force Renegade, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, recently participated in the Fall Joint Armed Forces Motorcycle Safety Rally at Fort Bliss, Texas.

  • Iowa Reserve engineers learn to engage key Afghan leaders

    Dec 21, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade conducted key leader engagement training here earlier this month for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 402nd Engineer Company from Des Moines, Iowa. The engineers are training for their deployment to Afghanistan. (Photos by Lt. Col. Aaron Dorf, 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • 402nd Field Artillery Brigade members join elite Order of Saint Barbara

    Dec 21, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- Several military and civilian members of the 402nd Field Artillery Brigade were inducted into the Honorable Order of Saint Barbara, an honorary society of the U.S. Artillery Branches, as part of the Saint Barbara's Day Ball ceremonies at East Fort Bliss' Centennial Banquet and Conference Center Dec. 14.

  • Reserve engineers learn to engage key Afghan leaders

    Dec 20, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently conducted key leader engagement training here for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 704th Engineer Company from Hot Springs, Ark. The engineers are training for their deployment to Regional Command West in Afghanistan. (Photos courtesy 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • SFA AT cultivating Afghan relationships

    Dec 20, 2012

    FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Soldiers from the 205th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, Security Force Assistance Advisor Team spent the last nine months building relationships with Afghan National Army and key Afghan forces while deployed to the Kandahar Province, Kandahar City, Afghanistan.

  • Chief Chaplain gains insights into reserve-component deployment needs

    Dec 20, 2012

    The U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains and his sergeant major visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., recently to gain a better understanding of First Army Division East's purpose and mission.

  • Soldiers show students a day in the life of the Army

    Dec 20, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas -- Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Warhawg, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, recently volunteered to help Collins Elementary School during the school's annual career day here.

  • Task Force Warhawg supports Celebration of Lights parade

    Dec 20, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas -- The 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment, "Task Force Warhawg," 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, and the Child Crisis Center of El Paso partnered for the 77th annual "Celebration of Lights" parade that brought thousands of spectators to the city's downtown streets earlier this month.

  • Task Force Renegade Family member recognized for volunteerism

    Dec 20, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- The Family Readiness Group leader for 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment "Task Force Renegade," 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, was awarded the Dr. Mary E. Walker Award in a Dec. 10 ceremony at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy here.

  • Patriots interfaith prayer breakfast promotes resilience, understanding

    Dec 20, 2012

    The 174th Infantry Brigade's monthly prayer breakfast may have started out like many others, but not everyone expected what was to come. After everyone had a chance to eat and get settled in, the Chaplain called two Soldiers to the front of the room and asked everyone to stand for the program's opening prayer. Everyone stood and bowed their heads. Muhammad, an Army staff sergeant and linguist, lifted his hands and began praying -- in Arabic. He offered a Muslim prayer of blessing for everyone in the room, the food, the leaders appointed over him, and the organization. When he finished, Sami, also a linguist and Army staff sergeant, came forward wearing his yarmulke and offered a traditional Jewish prayer of "Grace After Meals" -- in Hebrew.

  • 'Dragon Strike' Battalion holds Military Ball

    Dec 19, 2012

    DALLAS -- Soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 381st Regiment "Dragon Strike," 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, held their annual Military Ball earlier this month at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service World Headquarters Skyline Lounge here.


    Dec 19, 2012

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Soldiers and Civilians of the 87th United States Army Reserve Support Command (East) and the 1st Mobilization Support Group took part in a change of command ceremony December 16, 2012 in Birmingham, Ala. During the ceremony Col. Steve W. Ainsworth relinquished control of the command to Col. Pete Bosse.

  • 120th Infantry Brigade trains 311th ESC for deployment to Afghanistan

    Dec 18, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- The 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) participated in exercise "Unified Endeavor" during December at North Fort Hood. The exercise included both live and computer-aided virtual events, all focused on mission command training.

  • Division West officers train for Best Ranger competition

    Dec 18, 2012

    First Army, supported by Division West, conducted training Fort Hood, Texas, earlier this month to select a team to represent the command at the upcoming 30th annual Best Ranger Competition.

  • Change of stole ceremony welcomes new Division West chaplain

    Dec 18, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- Change of command and change of responsibility ceremonies are routine in the Army. The coming and going of leaders will always be a part of our military. However, First Army Division West recently recognized a change of leadership with a less-than-routine ceremony. Soldiers in the division bid farewell to their spiritual leader in a Change of Stole and retirement ceremony at the 25th Street Chapel near division headquarters here Dec. 14.

  • 'Black Scorpions' prepare for mobilization training mission

    Dec 18, 2012

    For Soldiers of the 2-363rd Training Support Battalion "Black Scorpions," 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, from Mesa, Ariz., annual training at McGregor Range, N.M., this year marked the culminating event of months of hard work preparing for a one-year mobilization.

  • 402nd FA Soldiers share Meals Ready to Eat with Partners in Education students

    Dec 14, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas -- There were no surprises as to the most popular food items from various Meals Ready to Eat that 402nd Field Artillery Brigade Soldiers recently shared with their Partners in Education students at Dr. Sue Shook Elementary School.

  • 479th FA commander helps honor Pearl Harbor veterans

    Dec 14, 2012

    Col. Richard Creed Jr., standing, commander of Division West's 479th Field Artillery Brigade, talks with veterans of the 1941 Pearl Harbor attack at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg, Texas, Dec. 7. Creed was guest speaker for a ceremony attended by hundreds to honor four Pearl Harbor veterans in attendance and all those who have served. "As long as we grow heroes like the ones we found in 1941, and 2001, our world will be a safer and more secure place in which to live," Creed said. (Photo by Lt. Col. Richard Shevlin, 479th Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs)

  • 5th AR Bde. trainers master remote-controlled mine-clearing system

    Dec 13, 2012

    "Never send a man to do a machine's job."

  • Soldiers, students send holiday cheer downrange

    Dec 12, 2012

    GATESVILLE, Texas -- First Army Division West's 166th Aviation Brigade and its Adopt-a-School partner, Gatesville Elementary School, are broadening the nature of their relationship for an end-of-year seasonally inspired project. The two are assembling holiday care packages to send to deployed service members.

  • Safety program saves lives

    Dec 12, 2012

    FIRST ARMY DIVISION EAST, FORT MEADE, MD -- First Army Division East's safety record showed significant improvement during FY 2012, with only one reported fatality this year as opposed to three last year.

  • Historic First Army deployments end with warm welcome home

    Dec 11, 2012

    After several months of deployment for a train-and-advise mission supporting the Afghanistan National Security Forces, First Army Division West Soldiers were celebrated in a 'Welcome Home' ceremony here Dec. 10.

  • Celebrate sensibly, not senselessly this holiday season

    Dec 10, 2012

    Typically, the holiday season is synonymous with celebration, but Army leaders want Soldiers, Civilians and Family members to make safety part of their plans.

  • Mobilization training includes SHARP awareness

    Dec 7, 2012

    FORT STEWART Ga., -- In 2012, the Army implemented training programs to increase awareness and reduce the number of sexual harassment and assault incidences. First Army Division East incorporated scenario-driven training into mission-specific mobilization training provided to deploying Reserve Component Soldiers to increase realism and relevancy.

  • Overseas Etiquette 101: 5th AR linguists enhance training for deploying units

    Dec 6, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- The ancient proverb "when in Rome, do as the Romans do," still applies to modern conflict, particularly in counterinsurgency doctrine. The 5th Armored Brigade's Language Lab, where joint warfighters are trained for deployments, is centered on the concept that success in the battlefield requires a working knowledge of the local environment, language, customs, and even values. These serve as the foundation from which alliances are built, information is gathered, areas are secured, and long-term regional stability is ultimately established.

  • 5th AR trains Reserve engineers for deployment

    Dec 6, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently conducted route clearance patrol training at McGregor Range, N.M., for Soldiers of the Army Reserve's 704th Engineer Company from Hot Springs, Ark. The engineers are training for their deployment to Regional Command West in Afghanistan. (Photos courtesy 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West)

  • New York National Guard Soldiers start transition home

    Dec 5, 2012

    That's the guidance Col. Geoffrey Slack, the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team commander, and other leaders are stressing this holiday season to redeploying National Guard Soldiers. The Soldiers deployed earlier this year to various locations throughout the Middle East.

  • 166th AV to execute helocast during Best Ranger Competition

    Dec 4, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas, -- First Army is hosting its very own Best Ranger Competition here this week to select a team to go on to compete nationally next spring at the Army's Best Ranger Competition at Fort Benning, Ga.

  • 479th FA Soldiers restore historic Dulaney Cemetery

    Dec 4, 2012

    BELTON, Texas --Soldiers of the 479th Field Artillery Brigade's 3-395th Armored Battalion recently executed another chapter of their restoration efforts on the Dulaney Cemetery located on the A.C. Ray Ranch here.

  • Division West supports Army's SHARP program

    Dec 3, 2012

    In September 2008, the United States Army started a new campaign to foster even greater awareness for its approach on combating and preventing sexual harassment and assault.

  • Task Force Warhawg celebrates Veterans Day with partner school

    Dec 3, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas --Sgt. Maj. Riley Woodworth, 1st Battalion, 360th Infantry Regiment sergeant major, was guest speaker at the recent Collins Elementary School annual Veterans Day ceremony here.

  • 402nd FA supports German Day of Mourning ceremony

    Nov 29, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas --The color guard of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, displayed the American colors in the German Air Force's observance of Volkstrauertag, or National Day of Mourning, at Fort Bliss National Cemetery Nov. 18.

  • 5th AR leaders serve Thanksgiving meal to joint warfighters

    Nov 29, 2012

    McGREGOR BASE CAMP, N.M.-- On most other days, 5th Armored Brigade leaders manage training schedules, lead training meetings and train joint warfighters for their upcoming deployments, but on Thanksgiving Day, those leaders donned serving aprons and chef's hats to provide service members a traditional Thanksgiving feast.

  • Division West unit reaches out to community for Veterans Day

    Nov 29, 2012

    TRACEY, Calif. -- Veterans and service members all over the world were thanked for their contributions to the United States Nov. 11. Three days earlier, troops from 1-363rd Training Support Battalion, 189th Infantry Brigade, Division West, visited George Kelly Elementary School here in an effort to give back to the community.

  • Increase in mission set brings new training to JB MDL

    Nov 29, 2012

    In an aim to balance mission sets and numbers of troops deploying at each First Army Mobilization Force Generation Installation, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. will soon add police mentorship and the law and order mission to its vast spectrum of maneuver, fires, and effects training.

  • 402nd FA, 5th AR host First Army commander's visit

    Nov 27, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- First Army commanding general, Lt. Gen. J. Michael Bednarek, took a few "rocks in his rucksack" back with him to his headquarters in Rock Island, Ill., after visiting the 402nd Field Artillery and 5th Armored Brigades here recently.

  • 5th AR prepares to train ND Guard artillery unit for DC mission

    Nov 20, 2012

    GRAND FORKS, N.D. -- Trainers from Division West's 5th Armored Brigade have been tasked to ensure a North Dakota Army National Guard unit is ready to defend the nation's capital.

  • Division West NCO becomes U.S. citizen

    Nov 20, 2012

    Staff Sgt. Pantaleon Montes, an infantry Soldier with the 2-393rd Infantry Battalion, 120th Infantry Brigade, became a U.S. citizen in a naturalization ceremony at III Corps Headquarters Nov. 16.

  • 5th AR trains warfighters for worldwide deployments

    Nov 20, 2012

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Since 2001, the Alpha Team engineers of 2nd Battalion, 361st Combat Support Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade, while mobilized to Fort Bliss, Texas, have trained thousands of Joint Warfighters for deployments to various military operations.

  • 85th SC helps honor veterans during Chicago Bears Veterans Day game

    Nov 19, 2012

    CHICAGO -- The Army Reserve's 85th Support Command, headquartered in Arlington Heights, Ill., supported the Army Public Affairs midwest office in the annual Chicago Bears Veterans Day game highlighting the many service members of the Chicago-land community.

  • 5th AR conducts route clearance training for deploying Reserve engineers

    Nov 16, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently trained the Army Reserve's 402nd Engineer Company on route clearance procedures here before the engineers deploy to Afghanistan. The unit, out of Des Moines, Iowa, trained on route clearance-specific tasks, giving Soldiers hands-on experience with route clearance equipment and noncommissioned officers the opportunity to assess their Soldiers.

  • 402nd FA invites Families, 'fur kids' to PRT

    Nov 16, 2012

    Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, trek up McKelligon Canyon Road near Fort Bliss, Texas, at "o-dark-thirty" for their physical readiness training Nov. 2. The Soldiers invited Family members, including "fur kids," to join them on the last of their early-morning PRT sessions. The unit will conduct afternoon PRT until spring. (Photos by Staff Sgt. Patricia Deal, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, Division West, Public Affairs)

  • 402nd FA hosts German/U.S. marksmanship badge training

    Nov 16, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- The German Air Force's (Luftwaffe) German Air Defense Center has been a member of Team Bliss for more than 40 years, and the relationship continues to be enhanced and grown in joint efforts. Over the past three years, Team Bliss has trained and qualified more than 400 U.S. Soldiers with German Proficiency Badges and more than 200 German Airmen from both Fort Bliss and Holloman Air Force Base with U.S. Army Marksmanship Badges.

  • Calif. Guard aviators train for Afghanistan mission

    Nov 14, 2012

    The California Army National Guard's Company B, 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, one of the oldest Chinook helicopter units in the Army, recently mobilized to Fort Hood, Texas, to prepare for a mission to Afghanistan.

  • TF Rampant Soldiers train with Route Clearance Husky Trainer

    Nov 13, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE, N.M. -- Noncommissioned officers from the 3rd Engineer Battalion, 364th Regiment, Task Force Rampant, 5th Armored Brigade, Division West, recently participated in a train-the-trainer course here for the HUSKY Vehicle Mounted Mine Detection Cause and Effect System trainer, known as the HMDS-CES. The training system, which was tested and evaluated at Fort Bliss, Texas, last summer, uses a much less expensive radio frequency identification technology to simulate ground penetrating radar detection of buried threats. The HMDS-CES was designated as the primary trainer for units deploying for overseas contingency operations.

  • Gatesville, Division West honor veterans

    Nov 13, 2012

    GATESVILLE, Texas -- The city of Gatesville, with the aid of First Army Division West, honored veterans of the United States Armed Forces with a ceremony on the local football field Nov. 9.

  • Web base program tracks, validates National Guard, Reserves

    Nov 13, 2012

    CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Last year, more than 19,000 Reserve Component Soldiers, under the guidance and oversight of First Army Division East, mobilized, trained and deployed worldwide. Tracking and maintaining all the required Army training plus the required First Army mobilization training wasn't possible using the current software platform. Soldiers at the 177th Armored Brigade, however, didn't let that stand in their way.

  • Family legacy of service spans decades

    Nov 13, 2012

    FORT MEADE, Md. -- It's amazing how things come full circle by the simplest of happenstances. Earlier this year when Kevin Colyer received his maternal grandfather Lt. Col (retired) Robert David Orcutt's Army Class A uniform and other memorabilia from his Army career, he wanted to create a shadow box to honor his grandfather. But what he found was something that connects his present to his grandfather's past. And it made him not only remember, but want to know more.

  • NC NG learn de-escalation techniques for Sinai deployment

    Nov 9, 2012

    It's an exotic dance. The men try to grab the Soldiers' feet. SLAM! The lite weight practice shields hit the ground. Another man takes a running start at the middle of the formation, and the Soldiers lean their practice shields forward, blocking him. Finally, someone throws a gravel-filled bottle at a Soldier's head; the plastic shield comes up, just enough -- and in time -- to deflect it. The Soldiers aren't in any real danger today. But the realistic training they receive from First Army Division East trainers now, before they deploy to the Sinai could keep them from being hurt or worse in the future.

  • WWII veteran inspires grandson's Army service

    Nov 9, 2012

    CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Growing up, 1st Lt. Rodney Brock with the 177th Armored Brigade, Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, enjoyed his grandfather's Navy stories about World War II, and looked to him for guidance before joining the Army. Ultimately, these stories and his grandfather's example influenced Brock decision to join the Army. "He told me all the things that he liked about his commanders during WWII. He also said that he thought I exhibited a lot of those same traits and that if I chose to join, I would be a good leader to my Soldiers," said Brock. He said he would be proud of me either way," said Brock. "He didn't push me into the decision." "So I joined, and I visited him the day that I came back from Fort Lewis as a freshly minted second lieutenant," said Brock. "He said it was one of the proudest days of his life." When it comes to following a family member into the military, Brock isn't alone. According to a survey released last year by the Pew Research Center, approximately 79 percent of today's veterans followed in a family member's footsteps. This is almost 18 percent higher than the general public. Serving can be considered a family business, Brock said, since several other members of his family have served as well. Typically his grandfather would only tell the hilarious stories about WWII, he never really talked much about the horrors he faced until I came back from my first deployment, said Brock. It wasn't until Brock decided to help his grandfather receive recognition for his actions on Omaha Beach on D-Day that he saw parallels between their two careers. "My grandfather suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," said Brock. "I know how bad it was, and I am proud to work done at the 177th Armored Brigade, First Army Division East and First Army to help Soldiers deal with it today." The 177th mobilizes and demobilizes units under guidance from First Army Division East and First Army. The care and concern that is shown to all Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airman when they return home is outstanding, so they don't suffer from PTSD alone the way his grandpa had to, explained Brock. First Army works with the Army's Medical Command, the Veteran's Administration and other organizations to ensure every single redeploying Reserve and National Guard Soldiers are correctly evaluated and receive the medical and behavioral health assistance they need. When Brock first returned from Iraq, he and his grandfather talked about his experiences. It brought them closer and Brock better understood the demons his grandfather fought alone for so long. Over the years Russell had put his memories of his military service on tape, capturing the thoughts and emotions of a man who has walked through and seen the anguish of war. "It seemed like the Iraq war brought back so many memories of the war," says Russell in his memoirs. "Many nights I had nightmares that I was still fighting the Germans." Russell was among the first to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day. The images he saw that day haunted him for years. "Everybody was wet, hungry and afraid; food had been scarce for almost three days. We were towing a LCM (Landing Craft Mechanized) I think, a boat to carry the Rangers on it to hit the beach hard as they could," states Russell in his memoirs. "We had to watch the horrors of the men and parts of men that had been destroyed. The beaches were being cluttered with broken equipment and GI's who had suffered the supreme sacrifice. Yes, the heroes were placed in the soil on Normandy," recalled Russell. "It was hard to think that in just 10 months from Normandy, I was in Okinawa fighting for my life and others," said Russell. After D-Day, Russell, a Gunners Mate 2nd Class, served with a crew of about 70 crewmen and seven officers on the USS LCS (L) 86, also known as the 'Mighty Midget.' Many men and officers received special awards for bravery; the entire ship crew received The Presidential Unit Citation for heroic duty in supporting the landing at Okinawa. Russell, who has been legally blind now for five years, said the VA furnished him with a machine that helped him read. He began reading a little book titled "God's promise, ask and ye shall receive," while struggling with PTSD resulting from his experiences in both France and Okinawa. It took a lot of prayer, faith, medical help, and the love of family, but Brock said his grandfather has won most of his PTSD battle. "One night I had a dream," said Russell in his memoirs. "I had my pack upon my back and I was walking through the streets of home. God was saying my child it is over now; do not fear for you are safe now. Since then I have not had any problems with my thoughts and memories." After knowing what his grandfather went through and knowing how he suffered, Brock said he is proud of the unit he works for and the job they do, in helping Soldiers transition thru the demobilization process after they return from combat. And it was through his assignment at Camp Shelby that Brock found a way to honor his grandfather. "I spend a lot of time at the museum. I like to look around during my lunch," said Brock. "While I was there I picked up a flyer that said Veterans that served in France during WWII were now eligible to receive the Legion of Honor." Brock decided he would submit his grandfather's information and ensure he received the recognition he deserved. Brock started putting the required paperwork together in early January 2012 and submitted it to the Atlanta Consulates' office. He didn't hear anything back for five months. In late June, his grandmother received a letter from the French Ambassador stating Oscar Russell had been appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. "We were beyond excited," said Brock. "My grandmother called and said she had received a big envelope. She opened it and read it to me on the phone; it came as a huge surprise to us." Brock's grandfather, Oscar Russell, was honored for his service during WWII, at a ceremony at The Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby on Aug. 15. France's Lt. Col. Philippe Testart, French liaison officer to the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning Ga., and Honorary Consult to Mississippi, Keltoum Rouland, presented Russell the Legion of Honor and the accompanying title of Knight or Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Receiving the award on the arm of his grandson brought his service full circle for Russell. When Testart, awarded Russell the medal, he recalled a passage from Russell's memoirs. "Many men did not make it to enjoy the freedoms of jobs, peace and contentment, the love of children, parents and family," Testart read from Russell's memoirs. "We that lived should never boast as heroes."

  • 5th AR's Renegade Battalion refines MRAP training

    Nov 8, 2012

    McGREGOR RANGE BASE CAMP, N.M. -- The Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle training mission was foreign to the Renegade Battalion, 1st Battalion, 362nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, 5th Armored Brigade until January 2012 when the Coyote Battalion, who previously owned the mission, redeployed to its home station. Typically, air defenders don't work with MRAPs. But the battalion's observer controller/trainers trained for the mission and worked intently to redevelop and refine the training lane after taking over.

  • World War II Veteran shares memories, history of lineage with current generation

    Nov 7, 2012

    "It was 1942 the last time I was there," Leon Tarter remembered about Camp Atterbury, Ind. "They asked if anyone wanted to be a truck driver. Well, I was only eighteen years old, and I said yes, I wanted to be a truck driver. So they asked me if I could drive a big truck, and I said, 'yes I can.' The next day they had me pushing a wheel barrow while we were picking up trash."

  • 402nd FA Soldiers march in adopted school's Halloween Parade

    Nov 7, 2012

  • 85th Support Command hosts Division West leaders

    Nov 7, 2012

  • More than 100 trained Reapers ready to support mobilization

    Nov 7, 2012

    JOINT BASE MCGUIRE DIX LAKEHURST N.J. -- After months of leader training seminars, extended battle assemblies and other training events, more than 100 Reaper Battalion Solders completed their culminating training event and graduated as trainer/mentors from the 10-day First Army Training Academy. The Soldiers, assigned to 2nd Battalion, 309th Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade, stationed at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. will soon begin assisting with First Army's mission of mobilizing Reserve Component Soldiers for deployment around the world. "The focus of the FATA program is training observation and evaluation," explained Sgt. 1st Class Everett Greene, a FATA team chief from the 174th's sister brigade at Camp Shelby, Miss. FATA ensures all trainer/mentors follow the "Exacting standards of what quality training looks like across First Army is our goal."

  • 402nd FA welcomes new first sergeant

    Nov 6, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- Outgoing first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 402nd Field Artillery Brigade, 1st Sgt. Jerry Silva, passed the symbolic sword of leadership to Sgt. 1st Class Francisco Toledo in a traditional change of responsibility ceremony at brigade headquarters here Oct. 19.

  • 5th AR/402nd FA flag football team wins intramural league championship

    Nov 6, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- For the second time in three years, Division West's 5th Armored and 402nd Field Artillery Brigades'combined flag football team recently snagged the intramural league championship here, but fell just short in the post championship playoffs.

  • Division West combines training for Guard, Reserve units headed to Afghanistan

    Nov 5, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- Division West's 479th Field Artillery Brigade and 166th Aviation Brigade combined training efforts here Friday for two reserve component units that are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. Company F, 1-169th General Support Aviation Battalion (Air Ambulance), an Army National Guard unit with Soldiers from Missouri, New York, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, provided medical evacuation support for simulated casualties sustained during a convoy operation conducted by the 311th Expeditionary Support Command, an Army Reserve unit from Los Angeles.

  • Soldiers strengthen spiritual resiliency by reflecting on those who impacted their lives

    Nov 2, 2012

    Soldiers focused on the meaning of life during the 205th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, quarterly prayer breakfast held at King Hall Dining Facility, Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind., Oct. 29. "Why do we remember those who died in service to the nation or to God," Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Lozano, 205th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, asked the group, "out of duty, obligation, necessity; out of fear; out of desire … "We keep the memory alive, because the memory -- to us as individuals or collectively -- is important to us," answered Lozano.

  • Even Hurricane Sandy can't stop mobilization training

    Nov 2, 2012

    With tight training windows to complete mobilization validation requirements, First Army trainers could not allow weather to affect mission accomplishment. Despite Hurricane Sandy knocking out power lines and causing trees to block roadways, the 174th Infantry Brigade, Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, N.J., restarted mobilization training less than 36 hours after the storm.

  • On Halloween, Kindergarten Class Learns About Soldiers, Not Ghosts And Goblins

    Nov 1, 2012

    Wide eyes and curiosity were present when First Army Soldiers participated in the Hamilton Elementary School Career Day by sharing their U.S. Army experiences and talking about what they do in their everyday jobs.

  • 5th AR Families enjoy Halloween Spooktacular

    Nov 1, 2012

    FORT BLISS, Texas -- The 5th Armored Brigade hosted its first Halloween Spooktacular here Oct. 24, providing Soldiers and their Families an opportunity for downtime, fun and dress-up.

  • 205th Infantry Brigade NCO receives direct commission to officer

    Oct 31, 2012

    Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind. -- As a college student, it was the benefits that first attracted Justin Kenneth Mirkovich to the military. But it was a mentor, Capt. Derrick Simpson, who encouraged him to not only stay, but to make it a career. "Everything kind of fell into place after I came to the 3-411th Logistic Support Battalion," said Mirkovich, who became a second lieutenant in a commissioning ceremony Oct. 11, at the Sgt. Charles H. Seston U.S. Army Reserve Center at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind. "I was young. After my deployment, I thought I would get out and go into the Individual Ready Reserves, but Capt. Simpson encouraged me to apply for the military technician position."

  • In Rare Ceremony, First Army Senior Leaders Receive Second Stars

    Oct 30, 2012

    First Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Mick Bednarek, promoted Brig. Gen. Kendall W. Penn and Brig. Gen. Michael R. Smith to the rank of major general in a rare joint promotion ceremony at First Army's Headquarters, Oct 29.

  • 166th AV Soldiers enjoy lunch with Gatesville Elementary students

    Oct 30, 2012

    GATESVILLE, Texas -- Soldiers of Division West's 166th Aviation Brigade spent lunch with the children of Gatesville Elementary School Oct. 19 as part of the brigade's Adopt-a-School initiative. Each week, the 166th Aviation Brigade's noncommissioned officers, warrant officers and commissioned officers alike take time to sit and visit with the large student body at lunchtime.

  • 402nd FA mentors children for Partners in Education

    Oct 30, 2012

    EL PASO, Texas -- Members of Division West's 402nd Field Artillery Brigade recently began their Partners in Education season with Dr. Sue Shook Elementary School with a meet and greet with selected students.

  • 5th AR trains Sailors in marksmanship, live fire

    Oct 30, 2012

    McGREGOR BASE CAMP, N.M. -- Soldiers in Division West's 5th Armored Brigade recently trained Joint Warfighters from U.S. Naval Detachment 10341 in Short Range Marksmanship and Team Live Fire.

  • 5th AR trains Joint Warfighters in non-lethal munitions at McGregor Base Camp, N.M.

    Oct 30, 2012

    5th AR trains Joint Warfighters in non-lethal munitions at McGregor Base Camp, N.M.

  • Division West, USO host Halloween Open House, Soldier Appreciation Extravaganza

    Oct 29, 2012

    NORTH FORT HOOD, Texas -- While some people prepare for Halloween night to serve up scary costumes and candy, others also use the eerie holiday theme to show their gratitude to Soldiers and Families. First Army Division West did just that Saturday by hosting its first Halloween Open House, which was immediately followed by a USO-sponsored Soldier Appreciation Extravaganza.

  • National Guard SFA AT tests responsiveness, flexibility, and agility

    Oct 26, 2012

    Camp Shelby, MISS. -- More than 500 National Guard Soldiers recently completed the last step of their mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming Security Forces Assistance Advisor Team deployment to Afghanistan. The training wrapped up a monumental effort by both the National Guard Soldiers and their trainers.

  • SFA AT mentors ANSF partners in life-saving evacuation

    Oct 25, 2012

    FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md.-- For more than three arduous days, Afghanistan National Security Forces, with the help of Security Force Assistant Advisor Team Bluetick, worked to save the life of a severely injured National Directorate of Security Soldier. The NDS Soldier suffered severe, life threatening, shrapnel wounds and burns to his left arm when the Nuristan Provincial Capital, Parun, was attacked by Taliban insurgents. Although his arm required immediate attention, the isolated location and the mountainous terrain where the incident occurred required three days of travel to arrive at Central Outpost Kalagush Joint Aid Station.

  • Soldier shares her story, hopes to improve Breast Cancer Awareness

    Oct 22, 2012

    In May 2008, Sgt. First Class Samantha Green * was busy. A geographical bachelorette with a three-year old child, Green had her hands full preparing for a change of duty stations. She had to pack the house up, arrange for a management company to rent out her home, clear and pass everything to the operations noncommissioned officer because her replacement had not made it in time for a right-seat-ride.

  • Scenario-driven training prepares PRT for Afghan challenges

    Oct 11, 2012

    Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center, Ind. - Scenario-driven training provided to Provincial Reconstruction Teams helped the deploying Soldiers not only gain operational experience but provided them extensive experience working with interpreters. The trainers, assigned to the 205th Infantry Brigade at Camp Atterbury Joint maneuver Training Center, Ind., strive to ensure deploying Soldiers receive the most realistic, relevant training possible. The scenario-driven training along with the role players, forces Soldiers to work through the challenges in the same environment and conditions they'll face when they deploy.

  • Motorcycle safety saves live in all seasons

    Oct 11, 2012

    Although summer has ended, motorcycle riders continue sharing the New Jersey roads, taking advantage of the warm weather and low gas prices. Unfortunately, with the weather changing, the likelihood of being involved in a motorcycle accident increases.

  • Trainer Mentors strengthen trust, capabilities with Afghan Army

    Oct 10, 2012

    "We have a motivated team of Division East Soldiers eager to assist the Afghan Nation Army realize their potential of becoming one of the most professional and effective Armies in the region. Our relationship will be based on trust and the common belief that a strong Afghan Army means a strong Afghan nation."

  • Trainer Mentors plan to strengthen trust, capabilities with Afghan Army

    Oct 4, 2012

    An unexpected delay in Manus forced the new First Army Trainer Mentor Team-East to transition operations in Afghanistan in only 36 hours. Luckily, the outgoing team, TMT-West, prepared for the unexpected, and the two teams transitioned smoothly.

  • 402nd FA takes to mountains for Family bonding

    Oct 4, 2012

    SACRAMENTO, N.M. -- Soldiers of Division West's 402nd Field Artillery Brigade recently took to the mountains for a course on Family bonding and some recreation time here.

  • 5th AR trains Guard engineers for Afghanistan deployments

    Oct 3, 2012

    The 5th Armored Brigade's Task Force Redhawk conducted two culminating training events recently with the Arizona Army National Guard's 258th Engineer Company from Phoenix and the Mississippi Army National Guard's 857th Engineer Company from Picayune, Miss. Both companies are horizontal engineer units that will conduct construction missions in Afghanistan.

  • Realistic training ensures deployment readiness for Ky. National Guard

    Oct 1, 2012

    National Guard Soldiers from Kentucky preparing to deploy to Djibouti as Task Force Longrifle gained a sense of the challenges they will soon face when they participated in the realistic training exercise at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuvering Center, Ind.,

  • Adviser team coordinates communications, operations in 'Land of the Light'

    Oct 1, 2012

    Team Bluetick, a Security Force Assistant Advisor Team from First Army Division East, and Occupational Coordination Center -- Provincial Nuristan staff recently conducted a site survey of the Nuristan Provincial Capital, Parun.

  • Shoulder to shoulder, Soldiers stand down against suicide

    Oct 1, 2012

    In 2011, 283 Soldiers took their lives. In the continuing effort to combat suicide in its ranks, our Army has mandated a Service wide Stand Down day. In support of the mandate, First Army is holding its Stand Down Day Oct. 4 on Rock Island Arsenal.

  • 158th IN BDE Train in Real World War Exercise

    Sep 27, 2012

    With the Active Army drawing down, the Army is committed to keeping Reserve Component Forces postured for activities in the future. Over the summer, First Army Division East trainer mentors worked with Reserve units, helping them hone their collective tactical and technical drills in a war exercise (WAREX) at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hunter Liggett, Ca.

  • New First Army Division East Command Sergeant Major excited to Train for Combat!

    Sep 21, 2012

    After 27 months as the senior enlisted advisor of First Army Division East, Command Sgt. Maj. Sgt. Major Edwin Rodriguez passed the Noncommissioned Officer Sword, signifying the transfer of the responsibility of the Division, to the new Division command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis E. Defreese.

  • Website will reduce chance for pay and personnel errors

    Sep 19, 2012

    The Army has launched a website designed to substantially reduce the chance for error on pay and personnel issues. The Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army (IPPS-A) will also serve as a repository for comprehensive human resources records for each Soldier. The website is at

  • Division West trains Maine Army National Guard MPs

    Sep 18, 2012

    The 488th Military Police Company of the Maine Army National Guard is here training with Division West's 5th Armored Brigade for its first deployment in the unit's current form, as Soldiers prepare to head to Afghanistan.

  • Division West supports Gatesville Spurfest

    Sep 17, 2012

    Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Brown, left, and Sgt. 1st Class Pedro Pena, right, both of Division West's 479th Field Artillery Brigade, watch as children explore the Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicle they brought to display at Spurfest, a celebration in Division West's partner community of Gatesville, Texas, Sept. 15. Other Division West Soldiers volunteered during the festival to direct traffic and work in a beverage stand. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Gail Braymen, Division West Public Affairs)

  • Division West trains Calif. Army National Guard aviators

    Sep 17, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- A California Army National Guard Chinook helicopter unit training here before deploying to Afghanistan practiced transporting troops last week using 1st Cavalry Division Soldiers who are also getting ready to deploy overseas.

  • Division West conducts 9/11 remembrance ceremony

    Sep 11, 2012

    Division West Soldiers stand in formation during a 9/11 remembrance ceremony conducted at division headquarters at Fort Hood, Texas, today. Division West, a subordinate unit of First Army, trains and validates Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers for deployment to combat or other contingency operations. The division also trains units of the active Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps and United States partner nations, for a total of nearly 40,000 servicemembers every year. Since October 2007, Division West has mobilized more than 1,500 units and more than 85,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Gail Braymen, Division West Public Affairs)

  • MRAP Driver's Training revamped at JB MDL

    Sep 10, 2012

    Vehicle rollovers remain a serious concern for units deployed overseas. According to statistics compiled by United States Central Command (CENTCOM), there were 618 tactical vehicle rollovers in Afghanistan between January 2009 and July 2012, resulting in 23 fatalities and 501 injuries.

  • Emergency response exercise tests First Army

    Sep 4, 2012

  • Division West NCO reaches for mantle of minister

    Aug 27, 2012

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- Staff Sgt. Tracy Lostaunau is no stranger to a life of service. He is a mobilized Army Reserve Soldier who currently works as a chaplain's assistant and logistics and administrative NCO with First Army Division West's chaplain's section.

  • Training at Vibrant Response exercise ensures agile joint force

    Aug 21, 2012

    More than 200 observer/trainers supported the recent Vibrant Response exercise held at Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center and Muscatatuck Urban Training Complex, Ind., providing training, feedback, and ensuring adherence to standards throughout the emergency response exercise.

  • French Government honors WWII veteran's D-Day service

    Aug 16, 2012

    According to Gunnery Mate Second Class Oscar Russell, he wasn't a hero. He was just a guy who believed in God and country. Everyone else in the room knew the truth: he was a hero and an inspiration to many. Sixty-eight years after D-Day, Russell received the French Legion of Honor for his actions during World War II. The Honorary Consul to France, Keltoum Roland and Lt. Col. Phillippe Testart, French liaison officer to the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning Ga, awarded Russell the medal on Aug. 15, during in a ceremony held at the Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, Miss.

  • First National Guard assistance advisor teams training now for deployment

    Aug 15, 2012

    CAMP SHELBY, MISS. - The first National Guard units identified to provide Security Force Assistance Advisor Team support in Afghanistan recently mobilized at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center Miss. Not only is this a new mission for the National Guard, it's a new mission for the trainer mentors tasked to prepare those Soldiers for deployment. The 158th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, mobilizes, trains, and validates Reserve Component Soldiers to meet all deployment requirements for worldwide missions.