CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -Pfc. Taylor Crooks, a combat engineer, 225th Engineer Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad works in the operations section of his brigade's command center.

A native of Deville, La., Crooks enlisted in the U.S. Army seven months ago and received a promotion to private first class Feb. 16.

Working with the Army's command post of the future, he can track and report, in near real-time, events and units all over the greater Baghdad area. As a CPOP operator in the tactical operations center, Crooks functions as the eyes and ears for the commander during combat operations, route clearance missions and joint MND-B/Iraqi Security Force patrols.

Crooks, who joined the Army " get a head start on life and deploy," didn't deploy to Iraq all alone. In addition to his "Castle" teammates, there's a man who has been with Crooks since the beginning.

"He knows there will be no special treatment for him while he is deployed with me, but I am very proud of my son," said his father and deputy commanding officer of the 225th Eng. Bde., Lt. Col Jerry Crooks.

Tough, with no special treatment, is how the young private expects life to be here in Iraq during his first deployment.

"I am just proud to be a Soldier and follow in my family's footsteps."