By Sgt. Philip KleinJune 9, 2008
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq (Army News Service, June 9, 2008) - Deployed Soldiers in Multi-National Division-Baghdad connected with their Families in central Texas to watch their sons and daughters receive high school diplomas via video teleconference June 6-8.
Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey Burns, who serves as the senior signals intelligence technician for MND-B, was the first to congratulate a graduate, his daughter, Lindsey Burns, prior to her graduation from Copperas Cove High School. The Burns Family was able to come together for this special event, which took place during the early morning of June 7 in Iraq and the evening of June 6 in Texas.
Part of the leadership of MND-B and the 4th Infantry Division gathered together with their Families prior to the graduation ceremony of Harker Heights High School in Killeen, Texas, early June 8 in Baghdad and the evening of June 7 in Texas.
For the graduating students the ceremony was held at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton, Texas, but for Col. Allen Batschelet, the chief of staff for MND-B and the 4th Inf. Div.; Col. Bill Salter, the Baghdad Operations Command advisory team chief; and Lt. Col. Barry Graham, the G2 chief, Division Special Troops Battalion, the even was in the MND-B staff conference room.
After the big day, the new graduates all have plans to continue their education; Kelsey Batschelet and Mary Beth Graham plan on attending Texas A&M at College Station, while William Salter plans to follow his father's footsteps by becoming an Army officer and will attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Salter said he was very proud of his son and was excited about the opportunities that awaited William as he prepares to enter the service academy June 30.
"The orientation program starts early at West Point so he will have a very short break before he goes to school," he said.
"I have scheduled my leave to coincide with William's entry into the Academy so I look forward to being with him as he begins the next journey in his life," said Salter.
Kelsey and Mary Beth both plan on a more traditional college experience, but that doesn't diminish the excitement and pride for their parents as the next big step begins.
"I'm am very proud of my daughter and wish I could have been there in person, but technology helped bridge that gap and I was able to spend some time with her and watch her graduation ceremony thanks to the Killeen Independent School District and our Army team," said Graham.
Sgt. Maj. Fernando Garcia, who serves as the senior noncommissioned officer of logistics for MND-B, attended the final graduation ceremony from the area when he watched his son, Leonardo, cross the stage during the Killeen High School graduation at the Killen Expo Center.
Garcia is excited for Leonardo. His son plans to attend Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
(Sgt. Philip Klein serves with Multi National Division-Baghdad Public Affairs Office)