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VOLUME 2

THE RAIL GUNNER MONTHLY

ISSUE 9

Inside this issue 41st Fires Brigade Culinary Arts Team

3

2-20th FA earns AAME

4

Camp Life

5

Soldier Olympics

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West Point Bound

7

Promotions

11

The Rail Gunner

Monthly Staff Commander COL John C. Thomson, III Command Sgt. Maj. CSM Kelvin A. Hughes Rail Gunner PAO NCOIC SSG Kyle J. Richardson Rail Gunner Journalists SPC Dalinda Hanna

41st Fires Brigade “Rail Gunners!!”

Photo by Staff Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson, 41st Fires Brigade PAO Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Brad Turner, New Orleans native, the personality for “The Grill Sergeant,” prepares one of his favorites dishes, shrimp and grits for the audience during the 13th Sustainment Brigade’s first culinary arts competition at the Fort Hood Culinary Arts Center, April 29. Turner was one of the judges during the competition.

Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

FORT HOOD, Texas—Aprons were on and the whisks went whirling as food service specialists raced against the clock to prepare five star meals for first class judges and a crowd full of hungry leadership. The 41st Fires Brigade, 1st Medical Brigade, 49th Movement Control

Battalion, and 180th Transportation Battalion participated in the 13th Sustainment Brigade’s first culinary arts competition, April 29. The competition took place outside of the Fort Hood’s Culinary Arts Center off of Old Ironsides Avenue. The four participating teams were challenged with preparing a rib-eye main course consisting of potatoes, salad, and a pear dessert. Each See CULINARY on Page 3


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THE RAIL GUNNER MONTHLY

JUNE 2011

Rail Gunner 6 & 9 Send such unnecessary behavior. One incident of Sexual Assault or Domestic Abuse is one too many, and it tears at the very fiber of who we are and what we stand for. All of us working together – ensuring trust, discipline, and fitness in the Rail Gunner Family – is essential to maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Thank you for your engaged leadership and emphasis in this regard.

Colonel John C. Thomson, III 41st Fires Brigade Dear Rail Gunner Family: As we enter June, congratulations are in order for hundreds of Rail Gunner children on successfully completing the 2010-2011 academic year. Whether it is finishing kindergarten or graduating from high school, we are extremely proud of their significant achievements. The summer is a well deserved break, but it is not too early to start thinking about the 20112012 school year. In this regard, the place of duty on the morning of August 22, the first day of school, for all Rail Gunner Soldiers with children is to take them to school, the bus stop, or do whatever else to make this important day a great day for our kids. If your child happens to attend a school that starts on another day, then this policy applies to that day instead. Just to be clear, this means reporting late to work and missing PT. We recently participated in post-wide Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence stand down, and ask all of you for your continued support to stop

Our 221 troopers at West Point, New York are doing a fabulous job training our Nation’s future leaders and we are certainly proud of them. Despite tough field conditions and demanding weather conditions, we continue to receive glowing reports about our Soldiers’ professionalism, motivation, and competence as they train and support the cadets. We expect to have everyone back home by August 13th. For the rest of the Brigade, we will conduct company and platoon level field training here at Fort Hood throughout the summer, as well as continue installation support missions such as operating the West Fort Hood Pool and security of Hood Army Airfield. Regardless of the mission, our Rail Gunner troopers are known for always accomplishing it on time and to a high standard. Thank you for all you do, giving 100% each and every day! Important dates in June include the 1st Cavalry Division Reunion June 8 to 12; the III Corps Training Holiday on June 17th; Father’s Day on June 19th; and a Strong Bonds Marriage Seminar in San Antonio June 24 to 26 (contact your unit Chaplain for details). Additionally, the monthly 1st Cavalry Division Volunteer Recognition Ceremony is on June 14th at 10:00 am at the Phantom Warrior Club where we will recognize Mrs. Tiffany

Command Sergeant Major Kelvin Hughes 41st Fires Brigade CSM Draves of 1-21 FA, Mrs. Ashley Vales of 2-20 FA, and Mrs. Kathryn Abbott of 589th BSB. Congratulations are also in order for several Rail Gunner Volunteers that were recognized by the III Corps Commanding General and CSM at the Fort Hood Volunteer of the Year Ceremony on May 24: Mrs. Ruth Wheeler of 1-21 FA as Volunteer of Merit, Ms. Stinson Burton of 2-20 FA as Youth Volunteer of the Year, Mrs. Samantha Swigart of 1-21 FA as Multiagency Volunteer of the Year, and CPT Peter Hwang of HHB/41FiB as Soldier Volunteer of the Year. In closing, our Army’s 236th birthday is on June 14th and we thank you for your outstanding service and dedication to our Nation. Please put safety first in all you do this summer, whether you are staying close to home or traveling – we deeply value and need each and every Rail Gunner. You make us Rail Gunner Strong!

The “Rail Gunner Monthly” is an authorized publication for members of the U.S. Army. Contents of the “Rail Gunner Monthly” are not necessarily official views of or endorsed by the U.S. Government, Department of Defense, Department of the Army or the 41st Fires Brigade. All editorial content of this publication is prepared, edited, provided and approved by the 41st Fires Brigade Public Affairs Office. If you have any questions, comments, concerns or suggestions contact the 41st Fires Brigade PAO office at 254-287-0739 or email kyle.richardson@conus.army.mil. Check out the unit’s Website at http://www.hood.army.mil/41stFires or on Facebook for additional information.


VOLUME 2, ISSUE 9 CULINARY cont. from Page 1

THE RAIL GUNNER MONTHLY

Mariaya Santiago, New Haven, Conn., food service specialist with the 575th Forward Support Company, 1st Battalion, 21st Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Bde. “This competition is more than about individual skills, it’s about being passionate about a craft and taking care of your fellow Soldiers at the same time. Plus, where else can you use a chainsaw in the kitchen.” The culinary arts competition was open to all food service Soldiers on Fort Hood. The majority of Soldiers in the competition were first year Army Soldiers with no culinary arts experience. The Rail Gunners’ team took Pfc. Mariaya Santiago carved a dolphin out of ice second place with a smothered for the Rail Gunners’ static display table. The dolphin ice statue was Santiago’s first ice sculpture rib-eye entrée and whipped topand first time using a chainsaw. ping pear dessert. “We started preparing just a team took the basic dish ideas little later than everyone, but we and spiced them up with unique didn’t let that slow us down,” flavors for the judges to critique said Chief Warrant Officer Paula and the attendees to enjoy. Daniels, Washington D.C. naThe culinary arts competition tive, brigade food service tech initially was a way to help for the 41st Fires Bde. “The first spread professional growth in week of training was geared tothe culinary profession as well ward developing the team and as to scout out new talent for the establishing a plan.” III Corps and Fort Hood team; During the competition, each however, some Soldiers made team had to create a static disthe competition more personal. play that included a cake, ice “Working with the 41st Fires carving, a sculpted centerpiece, Bde. culinary arts team has defiand a show platter. The teams nitely opened my eyes to a new were judged on craftsmanship, world of cooking,” said Pfc. artistic creativity, size, and the degree of difficulty. The 41st Fires Bde. decided to go with an ocean theme for its static display. “You have to bring more than a cookbook to these competitions,” said Staff Sgt. Samuel Fleming Jr., 41st Fires Bde. culinary arts team Pfc. Mariaya Santiago prepared the octopus petit fours, small cakes for the Rail Gunners static display table during the 13th supervisor, 575th FSC. Sustainment Brigade’s first culinary arts competition. The “Every meal should be prestatic display tables were judged on craftsmanship, artistic creativity, size, and the degree of difficulty. pared from the heart. For

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Staff Sgt. Samuels Fleming Jrgrills the rib-eye for the main entrée during the culinary arts competition. Fleming has been in the Army food service for 13 years.

those of us who have been working in a regular dining facility for a while, we had to dust off our creativity and dig into our reserved spices. All three judges said that the competition was a difficult competition to judge because all of the teams brought something unique to the table. Special guest judge, Sgt. 1st Class (retired) Brad Turner, a Turner, New Orleans native, and more prominently known as “The Grill Sergeant,” said that all the Soldiers inspired him during the event. “This is exactly what motivated me as a young Soldier,” said Tuner. “I enjoy seeing new talent, they help you stay on your toes. Events like this one will help hone your craft.” The competition was close and each team brought out one tantalizing dish after another, but the 180th Trans. Bat. took first place during the competition.


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JUNE 2011

Deep Strike maintenance excellence award Story and photos by Spc. Dalinda Hanna 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

FORT HOOD, Texas— Twentyeight Soldiers from Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, were awarded Army Achievement Medals or Certificates of Achievement by Brig. Gen. James M. Richardson, deputy commanding general (support) for the 1st Cavalry Division, for their part in winning the Chief of Staff Army Award for Maintenance Excellence during a ceremony held at the Deep Strike motor pool, May 2. The prestigious award was earned after competing against other United States Army Forces Command and Department of Defense units. Deep Strike won with the highest overall score in a multitude of maintenance categories. “It all started with battalion

level internal inspections; and after brigade level staff assisted visits, we were nominated to participate in the AMEE,” said Capt. Anthony Allen, commander of Btry. B, 2nd Bat., 20th FA Regt. “The Command Maintenance Evaluation and Training team came down and did random inspections for three months and helped us write a 20-page narrative to submit to FORSCOM. FORSCOM chose three units to evaluate and the combination of the narrative and physical evaluation determined the winner. We did extremely well in the SAMS-1E box evaluation which is the computer system that manages maintenance services and the mechanic tool trailer evaluation.” The Soldiers accom-

Pvt. Timothy Havenhill does maintenance on a M1068A3 Standard Integrated Command Post System Carrier at the 2nd Bat., 20th FA Regt. motor pool. Twenty-eight Deep Strike Soldiers were honored for their work in winning the Chief of Staff Army Award for Maintenance Excellence . Four Soldiers traveled to Richmond, Va., to be presented with the Department of the Army AAME.

Capt. Anthony Allen, the commander for Battery B, 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, was awarded an Army Achievement Medal for his efforts in winning the Chief of Staff Army Award for Maintenance Excellence. Twenty-eight Deep Strike Soldiers were awarded Army Achievement Medals or Certificates of Appreciation for their hard work during the maintenance inspections.

plished what many units dream to achieve and plan to compete next year and win. Staff Sgt. Scott Coggins, a native of Miami, and a motor sergeant for Btry. B, 2nd Bat., 20th FA Regt., said that he is proud to have been recognized and they will keep improving and compete next year. “This is an everyday job because we always strive to be the best, said Coggins. “We will keep going and hopefully win next year too.” Four Deep Strike Soldiers traveled to Richmond, Va., and were presented the Department of the Army AAME.


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Hard Rock assists TAPS with Camp Life Story and photos by Spc. Dalinda Hanna 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

said James Elzie, a support coordinator for Survivor Outreach Services. “We have activities like a dunking booth, boxing FORT HOOD, Texas— Eight cage, cyber spin, and mothers Soldiers from Headquarters will have a spa day inside.” and Headquarters Battery, 41st The camp welcomed chilFires Brigade, spent their Satdren of various ages and gave urday assisting and entertainthem the opportunity to play ing children at Camp Life, May and make friends with other 7. military affiliated children Camp Life is a non-profit oraround the area. ganization that provides recrea“I am having a good time,” tional activities and counseling said Zariah Coffie, 6, who came to children of deceased U.S. to the camp with her two Soldiers who died in Iraq or Afyounger sisters. “My favorite ghanistan. Camp Life partnered part is the jumpy house.” with 41st Fires Bde. and the The Hard Rock Soldiers volTragedy Assistance Program unteered their time, because for Survivors to make the weekthey wanted to show their supend an enjoyable event for the port to the program and the families. families. “Camp Life occurs every six “Our brigade commander months and brings families toemphasizes on community outgether to provide mentorship reach in the area, so we were and a fun time for the children,” able to assist when contacted by Camp Life,” said 2nd Lt. Shannon Killian, the executive officer for HHB, 41st Fires Bde. “I enjoyed myself a lot, and it was surreal to see photos of Soldiers recently killed overseas and hear their children speak so innocently about what happened to their parents.” Camp Life also provides the opPfc. Gaige Caward falls into the water after Jacob Pope, 6, throws a ball that hits the button on the dunk tank during the Camp Life event. Camp Life offers a portunity for childay of fun for families of deceased Soldiers who were deployed overseas. dren to share ex-

Jacob Pope, 6, enjoys a snow cone during the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors sponsored Camp Life event. Camp Life is a nonprofit organization that provides counseling and activities for children of deceased Soldiers.

periences and inspire one another, said Killian. Spc. Steven Medina, a fire direction specialist for HHB, 41st Fires Bde., volunteered his time to help out the children and show his respect to the families. “I wanted to support a great program and see the children smile,” said Medina. “It is important to me to show my appreciation to them and their family members who have served.” The day was filled with fun and relaxation for both the children and parents. The Hard Rock Soldiers were able to assist in giving the families a memorable weekend.


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JUNE 2011

No obstacle too tough to beat Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

“By the time most of the Soldiers got to my grenade pit, they looked beat,” said Staff FORT HOOD, Texas—Some of Sgt. Nathan Price, Lexington, the most competitive Fort Hood Neb., sentinel radar operator, Soldiers volunteered for one of 1st Bat., 44th ADA Regt. “I toughest obstacle course many know how they feel though bemay come face to face with cause I competed last year. at House Creek Assault This course takes everything Course on Fort Hood, Texas. you have to complete it. More than 60 Soldiers However, when you cross charged the high wall during that finish line, there’s althe second annual III Corps most no greater joy.” Soldier Olympic Course Before the Soldiers could hosted by 69th Air Missile get to the finish line, they Defense Brigade, April 28. had to crawl through a tunSoldiers throughout the nel full of CS gas, save a installation competed in 20 downed pilot, and call in a different obstacles designed nine-line medical evacuation to challenge them physically report. and mentally. The obstacle “That last half mile of obcourse also emulates possistacles were the worst,” said ble battlefield scenarios. 1st Lt. Steven Garcia, San “The Soldier Olympic obAntonio native, executive stacles were chosen mainly officer, 324th Network Supusing the warrior tasks and 1st Lt. Steven Garcia prepares to throw a grenade into the grenade pit dur- port Company, 41st Fires ing the second annual III Corps Soldier Olympics. During the grenade toss, battle drills,” said 1st Lt. Brigade. “You want to stop Soldiers had to successfully throw a grenade into the pit within two atCharles Standfill, Morrisand take in a breath, but town, Tenn. native, competition there’s no air to breathe betive strikes,” said Spc. Brandon officer in charge, 1st Battalion, cause you’re surrounded by CS Farmer, Washington D.C. na44th Air Defense Artillery Regigas. You just have to keep tive, course combatant, Headment, 69th Air Missile Defense moving forward. By the time I quarters and Headquarters Bde. “Some of the obstacles got to the end, I didn’t have the Troop, 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry were modeled from the Army energy to stand.” Division. “After the Soldiers Physical Readiness Training The Soldiers gave it their all come off the rope bridge, they manual. The course was deand overcame every obstacle have to rumble with us. They’re signed to be continuous and that stood in between their way already tired by the time they strenuous. Some of the obstaand the finish line. For most of make it to us and they have to cles were designed to make the them, they were glad they had find that extra motivation to get Soldiers think quickly, like the 9 a chance to participate in the us to the ground to gain the -line MEDVAC Request. challenge. dominating position.” During this year’s Soldier “The course was one of After the Soldiers maneuOlympics, the course went from those things that you hated dovered across a stream using a team driven to individual. Also ing while you’re participating. rope bridge and fought their the course was shortened and However, when you finish you way to a safe clearing, the parmore obstacles were added looked back and realize how ticipants had to don their proalong the way. One of the new much fun you had,” said Gartective masks for the last nine cia. events. obstacles was the combatives portion where Soldiers had to gain the advantage. “The objective here is for the Soldiers to use combatives techniques to gain the dominate position and throw effec-


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Rail Gunners: West Point bound

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Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson 41st Fires Brigade, PAO

FORT HOOD, Texas—As Fort Hood encountered strong winds, heavy rains, sporadic poweroutages and hail, Soldiers with the 41st Fires Brigade made their way through the elements to muster for their upcoming and unique mission lasting from May 15 through Aug. 15. Even as the intensity of the storm picked up and caused a few road closures, the Soldiers continued to drop off their bags and filed into Howze Theater, May 11. More than 220 Soldiers from the 41st Fires Bde. are on temporary duty to the United States Military Academy, West Point,

Sgt. Myron Wade, fire control elements noncommissioned officer grabs his gear as the 41st Fires Brigade prepares to depart Howze Theater. More than 220 Rail Gunners will assist the cadets during their summer training program by observing them on their training lanes.

N.Y., on a prestigious mission to train, observe, and provide feedback for cadets who potentially may become future Army leaders.

Soldiers load their bags onto the truck as they prepare to leave Howze Theater. More than 220 Rail Gunner Soldiers will work with cadets in West Point for the next three months.

Teary-eyed family members departed Howze Theater as the Rail Gunners received details about the rest of the night and what to expect for the next three months. “We’re supporting the United States Military Academy cadet summer training program,” said Maj. James Barrows, Athens, Ga. native, battalion executive officer, 2nd battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Bde. “Our Soldiers will be the observer-controllers as the cadets conduct their own training through vari-

ous situation based and tactical training lanes.” The cadets’ summer program is broken down into two phases: cadet leadership development training and field training. The leadership portion of the summer training will last three weeks and the field training will carry the cadets through the remainder of the summer. The 41st Fires Bde. will provide helpful tips and feedback for the cadets during the program while the seniors and juniors train the freshmen. Throughout the summer program, the cadets will run through numerous lanes like basic patrolling, land navigation, and reacting to enemy contact. The Rail Gunner Soldiers will break down into squad-sized elements and walk each training lane to oversee training, and stand in when necessary. “Our Soldiers have a great See WEST POINT on Page 8


VOLUME 2, ISSUE 9 WEST POINT cont. from Page 7

opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the cadets,” said Capt. Peter Crosthwaite, Marysville, Ohio native, commander for Battery C, 2nd Bat., 20th FA Regt., 41st Fires Bde. “The one-on-one experiences we get with the cadets really set this mission apart from other missions. Each training mission will help the cadets gain a better understanding and allow them to make valuable assessments on potential Soldiers they could lead in the future.” Barrows stated that while in school, the cadets do not have the opportunity to interact with too many

THE RAIL GUNNER MONTHLY

JUNE 2011

Staff Sgt. Latrece Scarver writes a letter to her loved ones before departing Howze Theater. The Rail Gunners will operate as observer-controller elements providing feedback and helpful tips to the cadets.

Rachel Dean, Family Readiness Support Advisor for 2nd Battalion, 20th Field Artillery Regiment, 41st Fires Brigade, distributes homemade goodies at Howze Theater to the Soldiers waiting to depart for their mission. The homemade sweets were donated by the units’ family readiness groups.

noncommissioned officers. The 41st Fires Bde. NCOs will be among some of the first enlisted to help develop the cadets and prepare them for future assignments. “Having the chance to come to U.S. Military Academy is a prestigious opportunity for the battalion and brigade,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony Iglehart, Waco, Texas native, first sergeant for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Bat., 20th FA Regt., 41st Fires Bde. “What we do here over the next few months will help develop military leaders and ultimately help shape the careers of future Soldiers.” In honor of the 41st Fires Bde. mission at the U.S. Military Academy, spouses and family members have teamed up with the Family Readiness Group leaders and advisors throughout the brigade to Soldiers bags lined the outside of Howze TheateR during conduct a walk that will total the the rain storm as the Rail Gunner Soldiers prepared to distance to West Point and back move to the buses as they depart for West Point to work with cadets at the U.S. Military academy for their summer to Fort Hood, 3,490 miles. program.


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VOLUME 2

THE RAIL GUNNER MONTHLY

1-21st FA Spc. Justin Oldham Spc. Devon Ulibarri Sgt Randy Watson SSG. Robert Clark

2-20th FA HHB, 41st Fires Spc. Jonathan Marr Spc. Justin Neal SSG. Tony Jones Spc. Davon Collins SSG. Shru Nena Spc. Diane Gottlieb SSG. Shacava Cavalier Sgt. Todd McMahan

ISSUE 9

589th BSB Spc. Robert Wheeler Cpl. Luz Person Sgt. Raul Lopez SSG. Roberto Perez– Palomares

A-26 TAB Sgt. Matthew Butler

To PV2 Michael Selman Eric Varela Curtis Colemire Lisa McDonald Shane Starr Andrew Murray

To PFC Robert Barnette Cherish Troung Lindon Todas Terrance Jeterperry Gradyevens Rhodes Muriel Delcastillo Antonio Rodriguez Kim Daniel Taylor Paryga Jonathan Tribble Nolan Leenders

To SPC To SGT Ethan Hendrick Colton StJohn Kyle Stadtmueller Adam McGee Joshua Dunne Joel Carter Micheal Escoto Rodricuz Aubrey Robert Bennett Michael Conley Wesley Wylie Richard Lee James Crooks Simon Pequeno Shawn Clark Allen Shelton Adrian Perez Christine Womack Stephanie Daddario-Munnigh

To SSG Alexander Avila Joshua Ashburn Curtis Bailey Jefferson Cookman Nicholas Weisenberger Kent Bumpass

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The Rail Gunner Monthy June 2011 Newsletter