OTF Soldier Story for December 13, 2010 - Maj. Barry Periatt
Current Unit: United States Army Japan - Support Unit
Current Position: Chief, Supply Branch
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Hilo, Hawaii
Hometown: Biloxi, Miss.
Years of Service: 22
During Maj. Barry Periatt’s deployment to Iraq, the Soldier was called upon to serve as a diplomat, an administrator, a researcher, a logistician, and a leader. Throughout his varied experiences overseas, he had the opportunity to work alongside troops and civilians from all around the world—and these skills have served him well since returning to his civilian job in Hawaii.
“We might fly different flags, but there isn’t a whole lot of difference between us and the Iraqis. Our basic concerns are the same,” he said, noting the human aspect of operations in theater. “Iraqis want to live free and raise their children without fear just like us.”
While deployed to Iraq in 2004-2005, Periatt served as a coalition planner for senior leadership at the headquarters of the Multi-National Force–Iraq (MNF-I) in Baghdad, where he worked to ensure the efficient cooperation of American and coalition forces during the early stages of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
During his year-long deployment, Periatt had the opportunity to facilitate the training, deployment, and integration of various coalition units throughout Iraq. Additionally, Periatt planned and executed two Coalition Senior Representative Conferences, events that provided high-level coalition commanders the opportunity to address theater-wide concerns and receive feedback on their battlefield progress from Gen. George Casey, who was serving as the Commanding General of the MNF-I at the time.
Early in his deployment, Periatt was travelling to the Green Zone when his convoy was delayed due to an improvised explosive device (IED) that had detonated. As he worked to establish security with other units, another vehicle-borne IED detonated nearby, and Periatt was injured as a result of shrapnel. He says it was fortunate that the shrapnel entered his hand parallel to his skin, which prevented any bone or nerve damage. He received the Purple Heart for his injuries, and has since made a full recovery.
Since returning home from Iraq, Periatt is able to leverage the skills he learned as an officer in the Army Reserve to benefit his local community. He works as the emergency operations coordinator for the county of Hawaii, and it is his responsibility to write the emergency operation plans and standing operating procedures that run the emergency operations center—not all that different from his leadership and managerial roles in Iraq.
“I am able to apply everything I learned in the Army and Army Reserve to my civilian occupation where I write the emergency operation plans and standing operating procedures and run the emergency operations center,” he said.
While Periatt has served in uniform for more than two decades, his desire to serve in the military dates back to his childhood, and it is still a job he is proud to have.
“I grew up on military installations and always had a strong commitment to patriotism. I joined the Army, and later the Army Reserve, because serving in the military was my first career choice—actually, it was my only career choice; I never considered (seriously or otherwise) doing anything else,” he said.
He enlisted in the Army following in the bootsteps of his father, who served as a sergeant in the Air Force for nearly 30 years, including two tours of duty in Vietnam. After serving as an enlisted Soldier for several years, the son went on to receive a commission through the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program at the University of Southern Mississippi, and is proud to have served as an Army officer ever since.
Maj. Periatt isn’t the only family member with a strong commitment to serving in the military—his younger brother is a military intelligence officer currently deployed to Afghanistan, and his oldest daughter is planning to enlist in the Army in the coming months to serve as a combat medic. Like her father, she plans to enlist and serve for several years, and then hopes to receive a commission through a ROTC program.
Periatt and his family live in Hawaii, and he looks forward to traveling to the continental U.S. next month to be honored as a Soldier Hero at the 2011 Army All-American Bowl Game in San Antonio, Texas—a fitting location, as Periatt lived there decades ago when his father was stationed at Kelly Air Force Base.