TF 1-182 C CO (1207TH FSC)
197th Soldier of the Year The annual “Soldier of the Year” competition for the 197th Fires Brigade is over and we feel that the best man won. Specialist Justin DaSilva, originally from Alpha Battery 1/103rd Field Artillery now deployed with Charlie Company 1/182nd (1207th FSC) is a triple winner, taking the Soldier of the Year for his company, battalion, and brigade. The competition itself consists of basic soldiering skills, starting with the Army Physical Fitness Test and Basic Rifle Marksmanship. But these are not the only challenges, in fact everything included in the basic Soldier skill set is a potential Question/challenge for the Soldier of the Year competition. I took the opportunity to ask Justin, as well as our commander, Captain Brian Fielder and 1SG Keith Smith a few questions regarding Justin’s victory. When asked if he was enjoying his new found semi-celebrity status. SPC DaSilva told me “I am proud to know that I represent the 197th, I feel there were many great candidates, and I am very lucky to have been chosen.” 1SG Smith for his part is extremely proud of SPC DaSilva and the honor he has brought to Charlie Company. In fact, Top Smith goes on to describe it as a “feather in our cap.” In a similar light CPT Fielder said “it’s great that the Soldier of the year came from Rhode Island, SPC DaSilva put forth a lot of effort, studying, and preparation, all of which are great reflections on himself and his NCO’s.”
“I’ve served on four deployments to the middle east and DaSilva is amongst the most outstanding Soldiers I’ve ever served with.” Admiration for Justin runs throughout the company and not just for his high scores, but rather because he is a well-rounded man with a dynamic, compelling personality. In the words of the commander “SPC DaSilva personifies a great junior enlisted Soldier with a strong future in the Rhode Island National Guard. I am confident that he will excel in whatever military career path he chooses.” PFC Steven W. White
At first glance, you would think that Justin’s fellow Soldiers are unimpressed. In actuality, they have such great expectations of this young Soldier, that it seemed a foregone conclusion. SGT David Lowe, his team leader, had this to say,
SPC DeSilva 1
Warrior Leader Course Two of our own have taken and passed the “Warrior Leadership Course.” The WLC is the primary formal course for enlisted Soldiers set to become Noncommissioned Officers. It is one of the first and most important schools any enlisted service member will attend. Specialist Darrel Ferreira and now Sergeant William Meehan traveled to Camp Buering in order to make this “Rite of Passage.” According to SPC Ferreira, the school itself was a lot harder and certainly a lot more professional than most would have imagined. SPC Ferreira describes his experience, “I learned a lot, it was strict, but I am extremely pleased that I did it. Without doubt it was a positive experience for me.” What surprised this reporter was that the school itself deployed as a unit. I had previously believed it was an in theatre creation. In reality the school is its own unit, staffed with highly trained and enthusiastic professionals. The SGL or Small Group Leaders, basically the instructors, take the students through a myriad of tasks from how to give a class to leading a small unit through tactical exercises.
things, it is hard to keep track of it all.” Darrel then went on to describe such classes as a drill and ceremonies demonstration, conduct a physical training class using the new Army PT program. He even touched upon the squad level tactical training, a several day exercise which everybody participated and everybody felt a little bit of pressure. I’ve known SPC Ferreira for a few years now, having served in Bravo Battery together. His obvious enthusiasm for having taken the course and the lessons learned is of no surprise to me. I am sure, as is anyone who knows him, that both SPC Darrel Ferreira and SGT Will Meehan will make superb NCO’s, and true leaders. PFC Steven W. White
“Of course there were a wide variety of tasks,” said SPC Ferreira, who went on to say “after all, sergeants do so many different
SPC Ferreira 2
Armed Forces Day Run Congratulations to everyone who participated in the recent “Armed Forces Day” five kilometer walk/run also known as a 5K. Although participation is strictly voluntary, the turn out for these 5Ks is very high, with several hundred people attending each event. T-shirts are given out at the finish line, with a different shirt for each event, yet most just enjoy the gathering of likeminded folk. Our participants were-
The softball season is over. Our team finished the regular season with a record of 6 wins and 4 defeats, earning a playoff berth for the 1st time in our team’s storied history. The playoffs are double-elimination, and after losing our first playoff game we were relegated to the losers bracket with our backs against the wall.
While spending a year overseas, It’s great that Soldiers get a chance to go on leave, visit their loved ones, and recharge PFC Brendan Cabral, PFC Paul Bechard, SPC Joseph Charrette, SPC their batteries. The only downfall to this is that several of our key players were on leave for this second, do or die playoff Gerald Knight, SGT Jen McCoy, SGT Jason French, SGT James game. Missing from this game were several key elements of Giggey, SFC Deb Neylon, SFC Chad “Rocky” Wilson, SFC Scott our team to include the entire left side of our infield. Both O’Keefe, 1LT Michael Bobroff and CPT Brian Fielder. SFC Wilson (3rd Base) and SGT Terrence Thomas (shortstop) These runs are a hallmark of the MWR efforts, organized and were missing. Also missing were SGT Jason French and operated by the hard working men and women of the Moral Welfare SGT Jennifer McCoy, two other key members of our club. and Recreation Services. This is not our excuse as to why we did not execute our game PFC Steven W. White plan in that final game. In fact, I must say that in their absence, the left side of the infield played admirably, and SSG Ortiz stepped up at shortstop while SPC Bobby Brown Congratulations to all of the participants in the 500 mile (Not Whitney’s husband) did a fine job at third.
500 mile club
club. The challenge was met with such enthusiasm and energy I almost think we should have set a higher goal. I know it would be unfair of me to point out any one person for special praise, since everyone worked so hard and for so long. I do however want to thank the man who inspired this whole meshugaas, SPC Chris “DOC” Dunham. PFC Steven W. White
The problem was our bats. Aside from an inside of the park home-run in the 1st inning by SPC Joe Charette (Joe is known for his blazing speed) we barely hit another ball by the pitcher. At the end of the contest, left the field with our heads held high and congratulated our worthy adversaries on a fine game, wishing them well throughout the rest of the playoffs. With the exception of Sunday scrimmages against the Camp Command Cell, I would gather that that’s probably going to be all she wrote in the area of company sports for this deployment. The season gave us a chance to get away for an hour a day, and for a short time take our minds off of the mission. We got to play ball, laughed a lot and ate some pizza. If we deploy again as the Company, I’ll be seeking to enlist the services of one Kenny Powers, with him on the mound, the batters have no shot. Coach G – Out.
- 1LT Gonsalves
SPC Tavarez delivers another strike
Gaspee Day Celebration and BBQ
In an event coordinated from the ranks, the Soldiers of Charlie Company enjoyed their second cookout/pig roast this month. Due to our impending departure date and the ever rising temperature, it was deemed best to have the event somewhat earlier. The best date proved to be early June, which coincides with that uniquely Rhode Island holiday “Gaspee Day”, on June 11th. Previous National Guard events have been held at Colt State Park, one of the most visually striking and beautiful sites in RI, with the stunning wide green lawn, folding into the brilliant blue Atlantic water, both of them bathed in warm sunshine. For this year’s event, we are challenged by not only being without our families and friends, but by being on the other side of the world. We reside not in that little bit of heaven know as Rhode Island but are instead, stationed in a scathingly hot monochromatic desert.
SSG Chris Dupuis and SGT Steven White took charge of the actual cooking, roasting over a wood fire a whole 90lb pig. SSG Rafeal Ortiz and PFC Brendan Cabral worked diligently to clean up the yard and set out all the tables. Beyond the pig other foods and supplies were supplied by the people from our chow hall. The smell of the pig smoking throughout to day induced a good number of guests to join our feast.
SSG Dupuis with the pig
The platter of food presented
Promotions & Announcements Our unit has had a great deal of activity in regards to both reenlistments and promotions. While the promotions serve to highlight the dedication, professionalism, and hard work of our Soldiers. the high reenlistment rate is a bellwether on the job our leadership has done to foster a positive can do atmosphere while deployed.
PV2 Ema Donagic has been promoted to Private First Class.
PFC Danny Khim to Specialist
SPC Harrison Boakye to Sergeant
SPC William Meehan to Sergeant
Recent reenlistments have included SPC Paul Mckinley, SPC Robert Brown, SPC Christopher Leblanc, SPC Andre Michaud, SPC Iona Simmons, SPC Steven Priest, SPC James Dorbor, SPC Mickey Melendez, SGT James Giggey, SPC Gianny Jumelles, SGT William Meehan, and SSG Rafeal Ortiz. Congratulations and thanks to every Soldier who has been promoted or has reenlisted.
PFC Steven W. White
What would Thanooe do? Dear Thanooe, I’m trying to become an MMA fighter at the end of this deployment, do you have any suggestions as to how I can go about this? SPC Josh Martineau
Dear Josh, It’s great that you are setting goals for yourself. Becoming and MMA fighter is very tough work. It takes dedication and discipline. I know that since we’ve been deployed you’ve taken the opportunity to become Level one certified in Combatives. I recommend that before we leave theatre, you enroll in the Level two course where some striking is thrown into the mix. Once we get home, you should try to obtain Level three and four certification so you can really hone your skills. Finally, I suggest that you find a sponsor. Perhaps you could ask SPC Fredette of team TAPOUT how he became sponsored by such a fine company. I know he’s got tons of muscle and definition, that could be why all the companies want to sponsor him, and no opponents want to fight him. Good luck in your quest Big Guy.
The promotion ceremony
Congrats What Really Grinds My Gears You know what really grinds my gears? . . . Online gaming. I mean do we really have to connect 3 PCB’s so Soldiers in one building can play Call of Doody with Soldiers 2 buildings down? C’mon people. . . Why don’t you just come over to our place and play, instead you have to play online and tie up the band width of the whole building. This is worse than that time in the Dominican Republic where they wouldn’t let me play stickball in the street because they thought I was on HGH. . . Homemade Guacamole and Habaneros. By: SPC Edward Tavarez (Company Mechanic)
Specialist William Meehan is no more, in his place is Sergeant William Meehan. SGT Meehan is a newly promoted Non-Commissioned Officer, S-1 personnel administrator, Warrior Leadership Course (WLC) graduate and recent first time father. The past year has been a whirlwind of activity and achievements for William. First and foremost, he and his wife Marlena had a baby girl named Alexis Sofia. Later he volunteered for a further deployment while already deployed; additionally he attended and passed the WLC which will serve to guide him as an NCO and leader. Finally came his long awaited promotion to sergeant, which is itself the surest way of knowing that his entire chain of command hold him in special trust and confidence in his leadership skills. Charlie Company assembled for the promotion ceremony on May 3rd, with special guests in attendance. Visiting from Rhode Island were Major General Bray the Adjutant General of the Rhode Island National Guard alongside his Command Sergeant Major, CSM John McDonough. Their presence for William’s promotion added a further sense of prestige to such a significant career milestone. PFC Steven W. White
New Porch The age old and time honored Army tradition of “improving your position” lives on here at Charlie Company. Using guidance provided by the Commanding Officer and working under the watchful eye of the First Sergeant, a hard working group of Soldiers and NCO’s have almost completed all of the envisioned improvements to our compound. The term ‘almost’ is necessary because as soon as just about every project is completed, this enthusiastic group of craftsmen start on a previously unforeseen refinement. The very first act of renovation was a cleanup of the compound, followed with a sandbag replacement and gravel spreading program. The majority of this work was done by the 4 squads, while each was on their warm shift. This work was followed by the removal of the previous porch and its decrepit roofing system. Demolition was conducted by SGT Thomas and SPC McKinley, with help from SFC Wilson and SPC Brule, all from HQ section. Helping with the work were the men of SSG Keveen Barroso’s 2nd squad. Once the previous deck was removed, SGT Thomas and SPC Brule put their expertise into action, building a far superior deck. This was done with the help of HQ section member SPC Mason Doughty. A new roof frame came from the old supply tent which had been replaced in total. This frame was used to hold a sunshade, covering the new deck. SGT Michael Stahl improved the roof’s visual appeal via his personal artistic vision, providing suggestions for dormers and some architectural flair. The improvements that are ongoing are for the most part the fine tuning and improving of the deck and the company area, as they exist. Currently, SGT Christiano Silva and PFC Brendan Cabral are building steps, extending walkways and revamping office entry ways, each man adding his professional skill and passion for perfection. The area that Charlie company will pass on (hopefully soon) to the next QRF unit, is a shining example of the Army tradition of improving your position, as well as examples of good ‘ole Yankee know how, American ingenuity and can do spirit.
PFC Steven W. White
What I did on my Summer Vacation What did I do on my summer vacation? I kept a promise, one made decades ago. This may seem initially like a long story, but in actuality, it is a pretty straight forward and simple tale. The only grandparent that I really knew was my mother’s father Nazzereno Scacco, he was born in 1889 somewhere in Italy, near a little town named Ponte Corvo, about a hundred kilometers south of Rome. My grandfather was one of so very many immigrants of that era that we often fail to see their individual stories and achievements. As a child I was drawn to my grandfather and enjoyed his company immensely. In my teens I would help him with his massive garden, and do other chores around his home. We had a uniquely close relationship especially given the roughly 75 year difference in our age, not to mention the sometimes awkward language barrier. I knew that he had come to America aboard a ship when he was just 15 years old, prior America entering the Great World war. Nazzereno or Nelson as he was known served in the Army, traveling back to Europe and fighting in France. When he returned, he got married, raised a family, lived thru the roaring 20’s and then thru the great depression. As time passed he watched another generation of young men go off and fight yet another World War, one of whom was my father Wallace White. By the time I came around my grandfather had been widowed and was retired, yet he possessed a vitality of a much younger person. As a young man I was very interested in the military and would often ask him questions about the Army and the war in which he served. These questions were never adequately answered, partly due to our mutual language barriers and partly to the passage of time. The U.S. Army of my grandfather’s era and when I joined in the early eighties were vastly different. Prior to my grandfather’s passing and my subsequent enlistment, I told him that I would try to go to his home town in Italy, and visit the place of his birth. Taking another leap in time, I find myself on my first deployment to the Middle East in 2010-2011. While deployed, the Army gives each soldier a two week period of leave. Most soldiers return home, some travel to other countries as tourists. I took the opportunity to fulfill an unrealized and what I thought would be an unattainable goal. When leave was approaching I became a little more uneasy each day, after all I was about to head off to a strange country, on my own with very little information to go on.
Eventually the second half of my journey would begin. Starting at Rome’s central train terminal, I rode the south bound train for a little over an hour and then a bus ride to my destination of Ponte Corvo. There were so many expectations and questions that I risked becoming stifled by worry as to what might happen. Would I find any trace of my grandfather or his family? Would I meet unknown distant relatives? The bus drove into the hills, past small clusters of scenic homes and farms. Finally we entered the town which had been my destination for so long, whether I had known it or not. Ponte Corvo was and is a typical small Italian town, nestled in the sunny Lazio Mountains. As different from Rome as deployed Army life is from living in the civilian world. I spent some time strolling around the town, walking the few streets all of which lead to a picturesque church, sitting in the town center, as if it were the town’s very heart. Any anxious or worrisome feelings faded away replaced by a strange sense of satisfaction bordering on the verge of joy. This lightheartedness persisted regardless of the fact that I really had no clue how to proceed further. At some point the hard news came to me, apparently my grandfather wasn’t from Ponte Corvo proper but rather or most probably some small “share croppers” farm even further into the hills. I sat there outside enjoying my lunch, enjoying the sights the sounds and the very air of a place which had for so long, existed only in my imagination. I sat with a contented smile never the less, holding onto a warm satisfaction. Knowing that even if I was now hopelessly stymied, my grandfather had come from here but I knew now he resided in me, in and with my memories of him, and he would always remain with me. What did I do on my summer vacation? I kept a promise and I renewed my friendship with my grandfather. PFC Steven W. White
The trip to Rome was lengthy, but surprisingly uneventful, within 24 hours of leaving my unit I was safely tucked into a nice quiet bed and breakfast, located near the Vatican in central Rome. What I found hard to grasp initially but was eventually satisfying, is that Rome is a city awash in art. Everything from the marble statues and innumerable fountains throughout the city, to the homes people lived in and the very clothes they wore, everything was chosen for its aesthetic value. It was in some ways overwhelming, it was matched only by the hospitality, openness and generosity of spirit of the Roman people.
Family Readiness Group
If you need assistance while defending the home front, please feel free to call the Family Assistance Center. Family Assistance Center
Credits: • • • • •
Author: PFC Steven White Design: 2LT Shane Hoover Photography: PFC Steven White Photography: 2LT Shane Hoover Photography: SGT Aaron Staley
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PFC White in Italy
TF 1-182 C CO (1207TH FSC) Currently Reporting From:
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait