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  • FORT HOOD, Texas -- The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade will hold a change of command ceremony at 9 a.m. June 27 on Sadowski Field here.  Col. David P. Mauser will assume command from Col. Leo J. Ruth II.

    Mauser comes to Fort Hood with a wealth of Civil Affairs expierence with his most recent assignment as the Deputy Director Village Stability National Coordination Center for the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan. Previous to that assignment he was the Deputy Commander for the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

    Ruth will be leaving the Fort Hood area and will be attending the Marine Corps War College for Joint Professional Military Education at Quantico, Va.

    The ceremony is open to Soldiers, Family members and invited guests.  Media interested in attending should contact 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office no later than 5 p.m. June 26.

Headlines

  • FORT HOOD, Texas -- The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade will hold a change of command ceremony at 9 a.m. June 27 on Sadowski Field here.  Col. David P. Mauser will assume command from Col. Leo J. Ruth II.

    Mauser comes to Fort Hood with a wealth of Civil Affairs expierence with his most recent assignment as the Deputy Director Village Stability National Coordination Center for the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan. Previous to that assignment he was the Deputy Commander for the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) at Fort Bragg, N.C.

    Ruth will be leaving the Fort Hood area and will be attending the Marine Corps War College for Joint Professional Military Education at Quantico, Va.

    The ceremony is open to Soldiers, Family members and invited guests.  Media interested in attending should contact 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office no later than 5 p.m. June 26.

  • Story and photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    Taking a seat and waiting for the game console to boot, Master Sgt. Robert Madden, retention NCO for 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, begins to explain just how things are going to happen before the game begins.

    “The first rule before we get started—no chicken dancing after you score.”

    That’s what he told his son, Robert, jr., as they began a game of football.  The two customarily sit down to a quick game when their busy schedules allow for it.  By all appearances, the 12-year-old Robert seems an ordinary kid with an ordinary routine—school, home, tennis practice, home, homework, chores, dinner, sleep.

    As a military child though, Robert Jr. understands his role and the amount of effort he must put forth to succeed; in school and in sports.

    “We can’t give up on anything,” said Robbie.  “We have to follow through and complete everything we start.”

    The deadpan seriousness and poignant gaze of the boy contradicts his youth.  In just more than a decade he has faced a slew of challenges, like the first time his father was deployed.

    Anyone that has had a loved one deployed can identify with the initial sadness that comes with seeing them leave.  Robbie has experienced that sadness on two separate occasions.

    “The first time I was sad a lot.  I was younger and really didn’t understand why he was gone,” said Robert Jr.  “The second time though, I used humor a lot to get past the sadness.”

    To occupy his mind and help with staying happy for those around him, Robbie took up sports.  Competing in track, tennis and football at Lampasas Middle School, he felt the “thrill of competition” and transferred his classroom success to the athletic arena, where he placed in the 100 and 300 hurdles, and a recent tennis competition as well.

    The drive to succeed and the motivation to be the best seem a characteristic common among the military child according to Robert Jr.

    “We are determined to find a way to get victory.  Most kids are happy to get a 99—I’m wishing I could have gotten that extra point to earn a 100,” said Robbie.  “I’ve got to find a way; I have to push myself more. When you fail you can’t keep living in the past, you just have to go on to the next thing.”

    The effort outside of the house does not go unnoticed by Mom or Dad.

    “It feels good.  Makes us feel like we are doing something right,” said Robbie’s mom Sherry.

    The normal challenge of motivating children and young teenagers to accomplish more is usually a monumental task.  Not so for the Madden family.

    “I think he was born with it.  He drives himself to push and keep going,” said Sherry.  “We still nudge him when he gets a 95 and encourage him to get that 100.”

    By all appearances, Robert Madden Jr. looks just like any other kid.  As with many military children, it is what cannot be seen that separates them from others in their group.

    Maddens playing Madden

    Master Sgt. Robert Madden, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade retention NCO, talks to his son, Robbie, during a football match at home April 26.  The two sit down for a quick game when their schedules allow the time.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

    Hurrdles1

    Robert Madden Jr., son of Master Sgt. Robert Madden, practices his hurdle technique at Lampasas Middle School April 18.  Madden Jr. took spots on the podium for his performance during the 110 and 300 meter hurdle events during the school’s final track meet.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Publi Affairs)

    Medals flash

    Robert Madden, Jr. shows off his medals won from track and field and tennis competitions during the school year.  Madden, Jr. began focusing on academics and athletics competitions initially as a coping mechanism when his father was deployed, but now he enjoys the competition and sense of accomplishment winning brings.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

  • Story and photos by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    Out of the classroom and into a stressful field environment. That is what students of the Killeen Independent School District Career Center found themselves in when they arrived to Fort Hood to conduct hands on medical training with members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion April 23.

    Situated at the Medical Simulation Training Center, eight KISD students had the opportunity to expand their medical knowledge and to demonstrate what they have learned throughout the school year.

    For some, getting out and seeing what others are doing in the medical field helped bring everything together.

    “This is definitely different from just reading a book,” said Yarima Bermudez, a medical sciences student with the KISD Career Center.

    “Being able to get hands on and learn how the Soldiers do it has been a valuable experience.”

    Despite the intimidation of the military equipment, the Soldiers were there to make sure the students were trained and that they discovered what the Army uses is really no different from what they would use as a civilian medic.

    “It’s all about confidence,” said Pvt. 1st Class Andrew Shoats, a medic assigned to the 81st CA Bn. “I think these students are well prepared and with them coming out here and working with us gave them a confidence boost so that they are able to transition directly from the classroom and into a field environment without much of a problem.”

    Taking the students out of their classroom comfort zone was another way that the Soldiers were able to test the students and ensure they were able to handle the situation when faced with unknown equipment, environment and patients.

    “Confidence in themselves as well as their equipment is something that I tried to hit home with them,” added Spc. Peter Blanco, a medic also with the 81st. “All the yelling I did was to keep the pressure on them to see how they responded and they handled it quite well.”

    The yelling was only a fraction of the pressure that the students encountered when conducting the hands on portion of the training.
    Everything ultimately revolved around the stopwatch.

    “There is going to be a lot of stress, a lot of pressure,” said Jesus Ballesteros, KISD Career Center student. “Here you have to move very quickly unlike a classroom where you can take your time and are able to make mistakes. In the real world you can’t afford to make those mistakes and every second is precious.”

    The one situation that caught all of the students off guard was the vehicle extraction process and how difficult it can be.

    “Providing aid to the (medical) dummy and getting it out was the hardest portion,” said Bermudez. “This was way different from the dummy that we have in the classroom. Ours maybe weighs 100 pounds while this one I was told is 250 pounds and trying to extract it from the vehicle involved a lot of muscle and a lot of team work.”

    The students will continue to train and hone their medical skills with the assistance of the Soldiers from the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion and most students will test for their Emergency Medical Technician certification before the school year ends.

    20130423-A-HF471-065

    Specialist Andrew England teaches Jesus Ballesteros, KISD Career Center student, about the different styles and manufacturers of cervical collars that are used to help stabilize patients during emergency medical treatment as part of ongoing medical training April 23. Members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion have partnered with the school to provide additional training and support to the students to help prepare them to become EMT certified as soon as they graduate high school. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20130423-A-HF471-126

    Specialist Peter Blanco, left, a medic with the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, grades the performance of two Killeen Independent School District Career Center medical students as they prepare a simulated patient for vehicle extraction at the Fort Hood Medical Simulation Training Center April 23.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20130423-A-HF471-185

    Yarima Bermudez, a senior at the Killeen Independent School District Career Center, stabilizes her “patient” during hands-on emergency medical technician training at the Medical Simulation Training Center on Fort Hood. Members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion have partnered with the school to provide additional training and support to the students to help prepare them to become EMT certified as soon as they graduate high school. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20130423-A-HF471-252

    Specialist Andrew England, a medic with the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, evaluates Aaron Whitaker, Killeen Independent School District Career Center student, during his hands-on emergency medical technician training at the Medical Simulation Training Center on Fort Hood April 23. The Soldiers were training the students as part of their ongoing Adopt-a-School partnership with the Career Center.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

  •           Soldiers assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs brigade, volunteered their skills and faces to Health Science students at the KISD Career Center April 9-10 as they assisted Emergency Medical Technician and Certified Nursing Assistant students to prepare for upcoming practical exams.

                 “The Soldiers come in every month or so to instruct on different subjects and provide different viewpoints,” said Becky Hammontree, the career center EMT instructor.  “Today they are bringing the instruction all together.” 

                  Knowing how to utilize special equipment is an important aspect of EMT life.  The Soldier medics provided guidance and real-world knowledge as the students practiced removing simulated car crash victims using the Kendricks Extrication Device; a device meant to stabilize the neck and back of patients to prevent further injury.

                  As the students worked to communicate with one another while bracing and moving patients, they soon realized the challenges of operating in the small confines of cars.  Specialist Courtney Rutan, a medic with 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, took notice as she guided the students through the process of extrication using the KED.

                “The military is practiced at removing patients from vehicles because of all the equipment that we wear,” she said.  “The students are realizing that it is difficult to remove large patients from small vehicles.”

                Finagling the patients onto the long board for extrication, the students eventually understood the process after a few repetitions of the car crash scenario accompanied with a little guidance from Rutan and the other medics on hand.

                In addition to EMT training and certification, the career center offers students the opportunity to enter the nursing profession as well.  In a classroom facing the same parking lot that had the simulated car crash, a rambunctious bunch of students adorned in blue scrubs was all abuzz.

                At first glance, the classroom looks like any other; a few biology posters, a CPR mannequin and tables prepped with disposable razors, hot water and warm, moist towels.  While the razors and hot towels may seem out of place, on this day the CNA students are practicing their shaving techniques on actual participants.

                “As long as it helps them learn and grow, I am happy to volunteer,”   said Spc. William McKinstry, a communications specialist assigned to the 81st CA Battalion, through the warm towel that was placed on his face.

                 The classroom soon filled with chatter as the students, some more apprehensive than others, asked questions of the Soldier volunteers as the shaving commenced.  Dynisha Woods, the class instructor and certified nurse, stressed the importance of listening to the patient while performing the procedure.

                “Remember to listen to what the patient is saying.  It’s their face, so it is very important that you pay attention to what they are telling you,” Woods said to the students.

                As with the EMT certification exam, the CNA students also are required to complete a comprehensive practical exam consisting of any task covered in the course curriculum; anything from changing sheets while the patient is in the bed to shaving.  Having live volunteers allows the students a more realistic training environment than mannequins.

                “The Soldiers bring the real life piece that I cannot provide with a mannequin,” said Woods.  “If it was not for this experience, I may not have the ability to provide such a great learning experience for the students.”

                Since the unit activations in 2011, the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and 81st CA Bn have interacted with the KISD Career Center through the Army Adopt a School program.  According to the Fort Hood website, the Adopt a School program was developed in order to nurture the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical growth of children in the greater Fort Hood area, as well as to increase public awareness of the Army’s mission, and to foster good relations.

      -30-

    Extracting Doubek

    Jesus Ballesteros and Tytiana Butler, Senior EMT students, work to extract 1st Sgt. David Doubek,   Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, during a simulated car crash April 9.  Soldiers assigned to 81st CA Bn participated in the training by providing instruction using their real-life experience and medic training.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 84th CA Bde Public Affairs)

    Rutan Watches

    Emergency Medical Technician students at KISD Career Center work to extract 1st Sgt. David Doubek, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 81st CA Bn, from a simulated car crash April 9 at the Career Center.  Specialist Courtney Rutan, a medic assigned to 81st CA Bn, looks on as she provides instruction to students.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

    Beeson instructing through windshield

    Specialist Brett Beeson, a medic assigned to 81st CA Bn, talks KISD Career Center EMT student Dewayne Isom through the extraction procedures during a simulated car crash April 9.  The 81st CA Bn medics participated in the practical exercise and provided instruction and real-world advice to the students of the Career Center.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

    McKinstry shave

    Dynisha Woods looks on as Keva Savage, a senior CNA student, works to shave Spc. William McKinstry, a communications specialist assigned to the 81st CA Bn, April 10.  Soldiers were invited for shaves to provide the students real patients, as opposed to simulations conducted with mannequins, in preparation for the upcoming state certification exam.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

    Class prep

    Certified Nursing Assistant students at the KISD Career Center campus work to prep their patients April 10 during a shaving practical exercise.  Soldiers assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade were invited to volunteer in the practical exercise to provide the students the ability to practice on real faces prior to the state certification exam later this year.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

     

  •             Killeen Independent School District Career Center automotive students got the chance to peruse, climb and explore military vehicles brought out to the campus by 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Soldiers as part of a Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services class Thursday, February 28.

               Sgt. Bradley Macik, a mechanic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, along with three additional soldiers assigned to the brigade, introduced students to the Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, LMTV, and the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, HMMWV during the class.

                “The students are getting a view of military vehicles in comparison to a civilian vehicle, to give them the confidence and structure they need to feel like they can work on anything,” said Macik.

                The sheer size of military vehicles can be daunting and intimidating to some, but to Jessica Plousky, a junior at the KISD Career Center and budding race car driver, these mechanical goliaths are nothing new.

                “I’ve been working on cars since I was in Kindergarten—getting tools and eventually doing the work; I have built eight race cars,” Plousky said.  “These trucks are basically the same, just a little bigger.”

                Some students were taken aback by the massive nature of systems within the vehicles as well.

                “The engines are huge,” said Trevor Norris, a sophomore in the automotive class.

                As the students looked at engines and undercarriages, some vocalized ideas of using the trucks for hunting, while others argued about advantages and disadvantages of drive train configurations on the HMMWV.   All arguments stopped though as the turbo diesel engine of the LMTV roared to life and the students looked as children do in a candy store.

    -30-

    Macik addresses students

    Sgt. Bradley Macik, a mechanic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, instructs KISD Career Center automotive students on the proper PMCS procedures for the LMTV while other 85th CA Bde Soldiers discuss the same procedures for a HMMWV February 28.  The class provided the students an opportunity to see military vehicles up close while highlighting the importance of preventative maintenance.  The Career Center is the adopted school of the civil affairs unit. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

    Collar and Plousky take a look underneath

    Jason Collar, an automotive technology instructor at KISD Career Center, and Jessica Plousky, a junior automotive student at the KISD Career Center, take a look at the undercarriage of a HMMWV Friday, February 28.  Soldiers from the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade brought the tactical vehicles to the Career Center campus for a PMCS class intended to allow students an up close look at military trucks while focusing on the importance of preventative maintenance.  Poulsky said of the military vehicles that they are “basically the same” as the cars she works on, “just a little bigger.”  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

    Anderson talks shop with a student

    Sgt. Robert Anderson, a petroleum, oil and lubricant clerk assigned to 85th Civil Affairs brigade, talks to an automotive student about size differences of components within a HMMWV as compared to a civilian vehicle during a PMCS class Thursday, February 28, at the KISD Career Center campus.  The class provided automotive students at the Career Center an opportunity to see military vehicles up close. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

     

  •           Story by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

               Killeen, Texas – In a classroom that resembles a hospital phlebotomy lab, Soldiers assigned to 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and 81st Civil Affairs Battalion willingly roll up their sleeves and offer their arms for KISD Career Center students as they practice techniques in taking blood from real human beings Dec. 13.

                Even though the school offers mannequin-type arms to begin the training process, students need to have the experience of drawing blood from live patients in order to improve on clinical skills, which also include patient interaction and communication.

                “Students need that interaction from actual volunteers,” said Christie Eggbert, a health science instructor with the career center.  “Live patients allow the kids to improve their soft skills by talking to and getting feedback from patients.”

                Who better to do it than a group of willing Soldiers, some even qualified as medics themselves.

                “The Soldiers enjoy interacting with the students—and the students appreciate them,” said Eggbert.

                Interacting with the students participating in the health science career module is just one way the Fort Hood Soldiers participate with the adopted school.  Understanding that Soldiers are required to stay fit for the fight, KISD Career Center staff asked for assistance in the development of a physical training program.

                Allison Schannap Belliveau, the Career Center coordinator, first began talking to unit representatives last year, expressing an interest in developing a program that would focus on general health and fitness of the staff.

                “Our overall focus was the health and wellness as a staff,” Belliveau said. “When you work out [your body], you are mentally in better shape, too.  Being prepared mentally makes us better teachers, so it helps the students as well.”

                Originally planned for six weeks, staff members have requested an extension.  With the New Year just around the corner, there is an expectation that more of the 29-person staff will be willing to get involved to meet some of those elusive New Year resolutions.

                “Usually our group varies between four and 10 people,” said Belliveau. “We are hoping that after the New Year, we will see more of the staff at our workouts.”

                One of the additional side effects these PT sessions have had is an improvement of the overall well being and attitudes of those that work out.

                “The workouts help to build relationships.  We encourage one another to push farther,” Belliveau said.  “I also think it builds teamwork.”

                Eggbert agrees on the importance of the program and hopes to see it grow.

            “I wish we could make it mandatory,” Eggbert said. “When I workout I am more attentive and patient with the students.  I also feel good after the workout when we leave in the afternoon.” 

    1SG Gives

    Alexandra Schuhlez, a senior and a phlebotomy student with the Killeen I.S.D Career Center, finishes drawing blood from 1st Sgt John Hagemann, assigned to the HHC 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Dec. 12.  The students are studying to learn the practices in laboratory and health science that they can take with them into a nursing field or future medical field.  Alexandra says she is preparing to become a future registered Nurse after graduating this spring.  The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade is the partnered unit with the career center and routinely volunteers their time to assisting with faculty in various topics from health science to video/photography.  (Photo by Maj, Brian Woods, 85th CA Bde PAO)

    Freddy teaches Push up

    Cpl.  Elizabeth Manfredini, demonstrates an alternate push up exercise to Patricia Williamson, an administrator at the Killeen I.S.D Career Center Dec. 13.  Staff members requested assistance from the 85th CA Bde Soldiers to help design an exercise regime meant to improve the overall wellness of the participants.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs)

    Freddy hand

    Maria Hernandez, a senior and a phlebotomy student with the Killeen I.S.D Career Center, practices drawing blood from Cpl. Elizabeth Manfredini, a Soldier from the HHC 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, as a requirement for the course Dec. 12.  Students from KISD Career Center are studying to learn the practices in laboratory and health science that they can take with them into a nursing field or future medical field.  Maria says she has goals to attend Saint Edwards University in Austin, Texas and earn her degree in Hematology.  The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade is the partnered unit with the career center and routinely volunteers their time to assisting with faculty in various topics from health science to video/photography.  (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th CA Bde PAO)

     

     

  • Story by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    FORT HOOD, Texas – Within 14 months of activating on Fort Hood, approximately 200 81st Civil Affairs Battalion Soldiers will be leaving on a nine month deployment to Afghanistan in the coming month following a deployment ceremony held at the Division West parade field Nov. 30.

    “This is a daunting mission, which you are trained and ready to achieve,” said Lt. Col. Joshua J. Potter, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion commander. “We understand that our small teams will be employed in units and scattered across the theater of operations, which demands our teams to be independent, but not autonomous, in their approach to solving the challenges ahead.”

    Part of that approach includes interacting with Afghan civilians and leaders to help develop stability at the local level.

    "We're going to be offering some of the short-term stability level projects for the people of Afghanistan, while it's the Afghan government's responsibility for the long-term redevelopment to rebuild their infrastructure," Potter said.

    The progress that they achieve while deployed is just one of the many steps that will be taken to ensure the buildup of the Afghan government in preparation of the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country.

     “I feel very strongly in our mission to Afghanistan and that civil affairs has a very important role over there,” said Capt. Tammy Sloulin, CA team leader.  “We are going out to help the Afghans connect with their government. This is how we will be able to make a difference.”

    Once in country, the battalion will spread its reach over 27 camps supporting 5 Regional Commands in order to conduct civil affairs operations and provide civil-military expertise to the International Security Assistance Force as they transition security over to the Afghan National Security Forces and governance and development operations to Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan partners.

     

     The Color Guard

    The Color Guard stands ready during a deployment ceremony for 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.  81st Civil Affairs Battalion colors were cased during a deployment ceremony November 30 held at Division West parade field.  Some 200 CA Soldiers are expected to deploy in the coming month in order to conduct civil affairs operations and provide civil-military expertise to the International Security Assistance Force. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     Unfolding battalion colors

    Lt. Col. Joshua J. Potter (left) and Command Sgt. Major Ronald T. Barker, command team of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, begin to case the battalion colors during a deployment ceremony held at the Division West parade field, Fort Hood, Texas Nov. 30, 2012. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     Formation

    81st Civil Affairs Battalion colors were cased during a deployment ceremony November 30 held at Division West parade field.  Some 200 CA Soldiers are expected to deploy in the coming month in order to conduct civil affairs operations and provide civil-military expertise to the International Security Assistance Force. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     Casing the colors

    Lt. Col. Joshua J. Potter, commander, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald T. Barker, right, case the battalion colors during a deployment ceremony here Nov. 30. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     FORT HOOD – FORT HOOD, Texas – City council members stoked the fires of anxiety, tossing a few playful jibes at the Mayor of Round Rock as he put on the protective bite suit just before participating in a military working dog demonstration Nov. 28 during an installation tour.

    “Be sure to leave your hands tucked in Alan, the dog might get them,” said a voice from the onlookers.  A few nervous chuckles followed, but the group quickly quieted as the dog came out.

    Mayor Alan McGraw and a group of Round Rock city council members were hosted by members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade during a tour that allowed the city leaders a glimpse of military life.  The tour included a brief history lesson, a military working dog demonstration and a hands-on demonstration of the Electronic Skills Trainer.

    Traveling by bus from location to location, city council members asked questions about equipment, quarters and aviation displays, but some were startled by the size of Fort Hood.

    “When you picture a military base, you think of a few little buildings, but it’s not.  Fort Hood is like its own little city,” said Laurie Hadley, assistant city manager.  “It’s huge.”

    An excitement could be seen in the faces of the group as they took up an M4 Carbine, M2 .50 caliber machine gun and even 9mm pistols.  George White, A Vietnam veteran, was all smiles as he took a stance behind the machine gun.

    “I can’t believe the sophistication of this training that Soldiers get today,” said White before unloading a digital barrage on a group of crazed, charging turkeys projected on the screen.

    Alan McGraw quietly took it all in. Rolling up his sleeve, he showed off the battle scars of bruises won during his participation in the military working dog demonstration.

    “That dog is strong,” said McGraw as he pointed to the bluest spot of his arm. “You can feel it right there.”

               

     MP working dog memorial

    A Soldier explains portions of a military working dog memorial to Members of the Round Rock city council during a visit to Fort Hood Nov. 28.  During the visit, city council members were introduced to simulators, military working dogs and general Army life. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade,Public Affairs.)

    McGraw gets a hand 

    Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw gets a hand putting on a protective bite suit just before volunteering during a military working dog demonstration Nov. 28.  McGraw and members of the Round Rock city council took part in a visit to Fort Hood. During the visit, city council members were introduced to simulators, military working dogs and general Army life. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, Public Affairs.)

     

     Salinas gets video

    Councilman Robert T. Salinas records the military working dog  demonstration during a visit to Fort Hood Nov. 28.  During the visit, Round Rock city council members were also introduced to simulators, and general Army life. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, Public Affairs.)

     Mayor and dog

    Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw takes part as a volunteer during a military working dog demonstration Nov. 28.  McGraw and members of the Round Rock city council took part in a visit to Fort Hood. During the visit, city council members were introduced to simulators, military working dogs and general Army life. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, Public Affairs.)

     White and Salinas at WST

    Council members George White and Carlos T. Salinas are explained how the Warrior Skills Trainer works during a visit to Fort Hood Nov. 28.  During the visit the city council members were also introduced to military working dogs and general Army life. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, Public Affairs.)

     Devito and Salinas

    Cpl. Nate Devito, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, assists Carlos T. Salinas, a member of the Round Rock city council, with loading and preparing an M2 .50 caliber machine gun for firing at the Electronic Skills Trainer.  Members of the Round Rock city council took part in a visit to Fort Hood Nov. 28. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, Public Affairs.)

     Col Ruth and Nielson

    Col. Leo J. Ruth II, commander, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, talks through proper firing techniques as Courtney Nielson, executive assistant mayor and council, takes up a prone firing position at the EST.  Members of the Round Rock city council took part in a visit to Fort Hood Nov. 28.  During the visit the city council members were introduced to simulators, military working dogs and general Army life. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, Public Affairs.)

     Salinas and others

    Carlos T. Salinas and other members of the Round Rock city council familiarize themselves with M4 carbines during a visit to Fort Hood Nov. 28.  During the visit the city council members were introduced to simulators, military working dogs and general Army life. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, Public Affairs.)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Story and photos by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    KILLEEN, Texas -- With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us giving thanks means more than just carving into a turkey while waiting for the big game to start on television. For many, it is a way to give back to the community and that was what happened during a turkey dinner giveaway held at the Killeen Food Care Center, Nov. 20.

       “Thanksgiving baskets for Soldiers-- it doesn’t get much better than that,” said Ann Farris, co-executive director of the Killeen Food Care Center. “We do it every year and something that members of the local community feel strongly about and help make it happen.”

       The center has been conducting the Thanksgiving food drive for Soldiers since 2007 and has evolved into a much larger community effort.

       “Today we will be handing out about 400 baskets for civilian families and 1,200 for the Soldier Families,” Farris said. “Everything that is being handed out is a result of hard work that actually started this summer.”

        Soldiers, Civilians and local retailers all pitched in to provide for the community effort that took place at the Killeen Food Care Center.

       “What you see here today is a joint effort between the Fort Hood Garrison Chapel and the Officers Spouses Club that helped raise the money to buy the turkeys from a local vendor at a discounted rate. The rest of the food is from community donations to the center,” said Farris.

       Each dinner container consists of a 15 pound turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and much of the traditional items that one would think of for a Thanksgiving dinner. With a volunteer force of more than 50 Soldiers, vehicles lined up, packed up with food and sent on their way in a fast and efficient manner.

        “My section oversees the command financial specialist program that helps each unit to select Soldiers to receive the donation,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cassandra Snow, NCOIC for the Fort Hood financial readiness branch. “This is my fourth year to be involved with this event and I think it is a great way to help give back and to make sure Soldiers are able to have a happy Thanksgiving dinner.”

        The Temple, Texas native is also in charge of the Soldiers that came out to help distribute the turkeys.

        “This is all about teamwork,” Snow said. “Having these Soldiers out here shows we are all about working as a team.  Loading up 1,200 boxes may seem like a lot but we make quick work of it.”

        The turkey basket giveaway is just one of many programs that the Killeen Food Care Center has developed. They will also be partnering with Celebration of Love/Soldiers of America Christmas Outreach along with Fort Hood for a similar dinner program in December.

    Sgt. 1st Class Javier Cruzcolon, 120th Infantry Brigade, 1st Army Div. West, helps load up a Thanksgiving dinner box.  Cruzcolon was one of many volunteers that helped distribute 1200 Thanksgiving meals to Fort Hood Soldiers and their Families during a distribution event held at the Killeen Food Care Center Nov. 20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs) 

    Sgt. 1st Class Javier Cruzcolon, 120th Infantry Brigade, 1st Army Div. West, helps load up a Thanksgiving dinner box.  Cruzcolon was one of many volunteers that helped distribute 1200 Thanksgiving meals to Fort Hood Soldiers and their Families during a distribution event held at the Killeen Food Care Center Nov. 20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Staff Sgt. Orgeeba Harvin, 1/62 Air Defense Artillery, helps load turkeys in awaiting vehicles. The South Carolina native was one of many volunteers that helped distribute 1,200 Thanksgiving meals to Fort Hood Soldiers and their Families during a distribution event held at the Killeen Food Care Center Nov. 20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs) 

    Staff Sgt. Orgeeba Harvin, 1/62 Air Defense Artillery, helps load turkeys in awaiting vehicles. The South Carolina native was one of many volunteers that helped distribute 1,200 Thanksgiving meals to Fort Hood Soldiers and their Families during a distribution event held at the Killeen Food Care Center Nov. 20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Soldiers from Fort Hood helped distribute 1,200 Thanksgiving dinner meals to Soldiers and their Families during a distribution event held at the Killeen Food Care Center Nov. 20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs) 

    Soldiers from Fort Hood helped distribute 1,200 Thanksgiving dinner meals to Soldiers and their Families during a distribution event held at the Killeen Food Care Center Nov. 20. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Soldiers from Fort Hood help load up Thanksgiving dinners into the back of a van during a distribution event held at the Killeen Food Care Center Nov. 20. The event, in its fifth year, provides a free Thanksgiving dinner complete with a 15 pound turkey to Families in the Fort Hood and Killeen community. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs) 

    Soldiers from Fort Hood help load up Thanksgiving dinners into the back of a van during a distribution event held at the Killeen Food Care Center Nov. 20. The event, in its fifth year, provides a free Thanksgiving dinner complete with a 15 pound turkey to Families in the Fort Hood and Killeen community. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

     

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     KILLEEN, Texas – Stacks and stacks of child safety seats, diaper bags and baby beds stand as they  appear as if they were getting ready for an in ranks inspection as the early morning light of the motor pool storage building was opened.  While it seems out of place, this building was used as temporary storage for gifts that would soon bring a comfort within a routinely stressful time in a mother's life during a super-sized baby shower Nov. 8.

         Members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade assisted Operation Shower on Nov. 6th with the 26th Event here with transporting a truck load of baby bags, beds and car seats from Fort Hood to the Killen Arts and Activities center, where several sponsors and volunteers hosted several new and expectant military mothers from across Fort Hood and Central Texas Community.  

         Many of the gifts were donated by local businesses, and sponsored by Babies ‘R’ Us corporation, another way companies show their support for the military.  The generosity of these companies overwhelmed the KAAC operations supervisor, Rachel Mcnutt.

         “I am shocked to see some of these corporations give back to Soldiers,” Mcnutt said, fighting back tears.  “As a former military member and military spouse, to see this [generosity] on such a massive scale is just…overwhelming. 

         Many expectant mothers from the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, who was one of the many units in attendance to include 1st Cavalry Division, are getting ready to send their heroes off for an upcoming deployment later in next month, and the support from Operation Shower comes not a moment too soon.

         “Everyone wants a baby shower- to have a shower with your Family Readiness Group and have this experience is just great,” said Mcnutt

           Families are often impacted financially as they grow.  With estimates ranging from $150 to $300 per month on necessities like diapers and formula, any relief is welcomed relief.  Operation Shower has provided growing military families this relief since 2007 when a spouse took a simple request of writing a congratulatory card for four new mothers to another level.

          “It’s good for young Soldiers and young Families,” said Sgt. Maj. Dennis Guthrie, Senior Operations NCO with 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.  “I’ve never seen these showers before, but it’s a good thing these young families get help; the cost of diapers and formula alone are outrageous.”

          Operation Shower is a non-profit organization that relies heavily on the donation of goods and services to sustain these showers. 

    For more information, go to www.operationshower.org.

    -30-

      Top_and_pinnick_loading_van2

    1st Sgt. John Hagemann, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, and Spc. Maria Pinnick, a logistics specialist with the 85th CA bde, assist a military spouse with items the spouse received at a baby shower Nov. 8.(Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

     Loading_LMTV

    Soldiers assigned to 85th Civil Affairs Brigade load a truck full of baby supplies in support of a baby shower in Killeen Nov. 8.  Operation Shower, a non-profit organization, has been organizing and sponsoring these showers since 2007.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

     20121106-A-UK577-010_box_inspector

    Sgt. Maj. Dennis Guthrie, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, inspects the contents of a box expected at the Killeen Arts and Activities Center prior to a baby shower sponsored by Operation Shower scheduled for Nov. 8.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)  

     20121106-A-UK577-055_downloading_fast

    Members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade unload a truckload of gifts and baby supplies at the Killeen Arts and Activities Center Nov. 6 as Sgt. Maj. Dennis Guthrie, 85th CA Bde, and Rachel McNutt, Operations Supervisor for KAAC, look on.  The goods were stored in anticipation of a large baby shower scheduled to happen at the art center later in the week. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

  • By Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    FORT HOOD, Texas – The stands of the 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment erupted in cheers as the jarring cannon sounded the beginning of a demonstration as well as an installation tour for approximately 60 Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Cadets from Seagoville High School Nov. 2.

    Traveling nearly three hours from just outside of Dallas, members of the 9th Battalion JROTC met with members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade who sponsored the group during the tour that included visits to the 1st Cavalry Division horse detachment, Cavalry Museum, as well as the 226th Military Police Detachment K9 unit.

    Lt. Col. (ret.) Keith Kelley, a 39-year Army veteran turned JROTC instructor, wanted to provide the cadets an opportunity to get a first-hand look at not only Army life, but military life in general.

    “About 10 percent of cadets that come through the program will join the military,” said Kelley. “This trip gives the cadets an opportunity to see how the Army is.”

    In addition to the demonstration of the horse detachment, the cadets got a chance to visit the K9 training facility where the staff demonstrated the service dog capabilities and obedience, to include reaction to an aggressor, played first by a handler, then a cadet.  Comical jeers emanated as the cadet ran, fully dressed in a protective bite suit, from a pursuing service dog.

    The dog won.

    Rounding out the tour, the group of cadets had the opportunity to stretch their legs to take in some of the 1st Cavalry Museum exhibits, inside and out.  Museum staff helped answer any questions the students had, as well as describing the history of different pieces of equipment, such as the final Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle or MRAP to leave Iraq.

    As the day came to a close and cadets reflected on the tour, many of them enjoyed the horses, vehicles and the K9 demonstration, but there was an overwhelming agreement as to the most surprising part of the tour; the food.  Expecting lunch to be ordinary and bland, many of the cadets said the food provided by the OIF memorial DFAC was surprisingly tasty and better than that of a school lunch.

    -30-

    2012-11-01-001_Sanders 

    Members of the 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment provide a riding and shooting demonstration for the Seagoville High School Junior Recruiting Officer Corps, as well as other audience members, Thursday, Nov. 3.  The 9th Battalion JROTC was at Fort Hood for an installation tour to provide students a glimpse at military life.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     Cannon Talk

    An armorer assigned to the 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment describes the capabilities and uses of a cannon commonly used by cavalry forces to members of the Seagoville High School JROTC. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     dog attack.1

    A Seagoville High School JROTC cadet runs from Lux, a military service dog, during a demonstration at the K9 unit training area here on post Nov. 2.  The JROTC cadets came to Fort Hood for a tour of the facilities and to get a glimpse of military life. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     Tank Talk.2

    Lt. Col. (ret) Keith Kelley, a Seagoville High School JROTC instructor, assists 1st Cavalry Museum staff with explaining some of the finer aspects of the tanks and vehicles during a tour Nov 2.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

  • HORSESHOE BAY, Texas – Since the start of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Army has developed many programs to assist Soldiers and Families to cope with the challenges of life off the battlefield.  Resiliency training, Family Advocacy and Chaplain programs continue to  improve the quality of life for many Soldiers.

                One civilian program, Real Life Management, was introduced to more than 50 leaders from the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade officers and senior NCO Corps during a Strong Bonds retreat in Marble Falls Oct. 28-30.  The retreat was to allow Commanders and senior leaders an opportunity to understand how to use RLM techniques when communicating with seniors, peers and subordinates.

                “These aren’t an end all, be all solution,” said Ch (Capt.) Dan Cook, a chaplain with III Corps Chaplain’s Office.  “This program simply becomes a tool.  Using the 3-minute survey, we as leaders can accurately identify Soldiers, who are most likely to have difficulties pertaining to financial, emotional or with relationships.”

                Real Life Management is a program that utilizes simplified personality surveys easily understandable and instantly usable as an assessment tool.  A scenario presented during the retreat recommended newly assigned Soldiers complete the 3-minute survey during their inprocessing as a way to provide a quick snapshot to leaders.

    According to Cook, Real Life Management is a program still in the testing phases and is not in regular practice Army wide.  Using mobile RLM-trained teams, Cook is developing a program approved by III Corps command that will train multiple units across Fort Hood using Soldiers trained and certified within RLM.

                Sgt. 1st Class Michael Knowlton, a platoon sergeant with 62nd Engineer Support Battalion, explained the importance of leaders knowing their Soldiers.  Following the loss of multiple Soldiers in a matter of months, the former drill sergeant Knowlton was introduced to RLM.

                “It’s not as hard as people make it out to be,” Knowlton said.  “One of the first things I did was have my squad leaders and team leaders complete the survey and then we talked about the results.”

                Knowlton highlighted an ability to communicate and understand as more of a focus instead of creating teams simply based on the results of the surveys.

                “A young NCO that would counsel his Soldier without any real direction now has expectations,” said Knowlton.  “Now, that NCO can counsel his Soldiers with an understanding of the responses those Soldiers give, based on what that leader knows from Real Life.  It doesn’t solve all the problems, but facilitates communication.”

                Some members of the command groups participating in the retreat saw the upside of Real Life.  Capt. Scott Cummings, commander, 82nd Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, sees RLM as yet another tool for leaders.

                “It can be a quick, easy tool.  This is something that we can do; at a minimum have Soldiers complete the survey,” said Cummings. “We still have to really know our Soldiers, but this provides a framework of understanding them.”

                Real Life Management seeks to assist leaders with making better decisions.  Utilizing surveys, downloadable content, and coaching seminars, RLM can be utilized by anyone willing to improve themselves and their units.  To find out more information about the Real Life program, simply go to the following website at www.reallifemanagement.com.

    -30-

    Pvt. 1st Class Hughes, a chaplain’s assistant with 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, assists Lt. Col. DeniseCook with registration at Horshoebay Resort prior to the start of a Strong Bonds retreat Sunday, Oct. 28.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs) 

     

     

    Pvt. 1st Class Hughes, a chaplain’s assistant with 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, assists Lt. Col. DeniseCook with registration at Horshoebay Resort prior to the start of a Strong Bonds retreat Sunday, Oct. 28.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

    Capt. (Ch) Rob Cook discusses some triggers of stress during a Strong Bonds retreat Sunday Oct. 28 in Horseshoe Bay.  As a Real Life Management coach, Cook was invited to present RLM principles to members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade command teams, so as to provide an additional tool in communicating with Soldiers assigned to the unit. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.) 

    Capt. (Ch) Rob Cook discusses some triggers of stress during a Strong Bonds retreat Sunday Oct. 28 in Horseshoe Bay.  As a Real Life Management coach, Cook was invited to present RLM principles to members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade command teams, so as to provide an additional tool in communicating with Soldiers assigned to the unit. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

    Participants from across the 85th  Civil Affairs Brigade share survey results and discuss how they match up with their peers during a Strong Bonds retreat at Horseshoe Bay Oct 28-30. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

    Participants from across the 85th  Civil Affairs Brigade share survey results and discuss how they match up with their peers during a Strong Bonds retreat at Horseshoe Bay Oct 28-30. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

    Sgt. 1st Class Michael Knowlton discusses Real Life Management and the importance of communicating with Soldiers.  Knowlton was introduced to RLM following the loss of multiple Soldiers within his unit and explained that although Real Life is not a complete solution, but provides an effective tool of communication.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

    Sgt. 1st Class Michael Knowlton discusses Real Life Management and the importance of communicating with Soldiers.  Knowlton was introduced to RLM following the loss of multiple Soldiers within his unit and explained that although Real Life is not a complete solution, but provides an effective tool of communication.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

     

     

     

     

     

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    ROUND ROCK, Texas – Two Fort Hood-based Sgt. Audie Murphy Club members raised the American flag and the halyard sounded against the pole with a quieted, dull ping while a passing train sounded a hollow horn during a dedication ceremony in Round Rock Saturday Oct 20 in honor of a fallen Soldier.

    “Providential events led Paul to a distant country, accepting many hardships as he labored tirelessly to aid a suffering people,” said Fred Rivera, father of Sgt. Paul Rivera.  “No greater love is there than to lay down one’s life and in this case, for those of a neighboring country.”

     According to reports, Sgt Paul Rivera was assigned to the 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th Military Police Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command out of Hohenfels, Germany when he died Oct. 22, 2011 in Puli Alam, Logar province, Afghanistan, of injuries suffered in a vehicle rollover during an attack by enemy forces.

     Although his former brigade commander was not available to speak, another commander quickly learned that Rivera was a powerful, influential figure among Soldiers within his unit at all ranks.

    “Anyone who knew Paul [Rivera] should consider themselves lucky,” said Col. Leo J. Ruth II, commander, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.  “Paul was the ultimate team player; he had a positive attitude and did whatever he had to do.” 

    While the ceremony was to dedicate a flag, house and street to Sgt. Rivera for his service to the country, the importance of remembering those who have fallen in current and past wars was not lost on members of the audience.

    A group known as Gold Star Mothers has been perpetuating the memory of the fallen since the first World War and assisted with the Rivera ceremony.  Once the group learned of Rivera’s passion for riding, the group coordinated the procession and attendance of a local motorcycle club. 

    “It’s nice to be able to remember Soldiers and to show that we haven’t forgotten,” said Steve Hall, the road captain for the Combat Vets Association motorcycle club.  “Since the events of 2001 happened, support has tapered off and people have slowly forgotten.  We like to remind people that there is still a war going on and to show our respects to the fallen.”

    In addition to the Coordination of the motorcycle club, the Gold Star Mothers contacted a local chapter of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club and requested 1st Sgt Alexander Poutou to provide honors during the dedication ceremony.

    “I first met the Rivera family during the Gold Star Mothers parade in Round Rock last year,” said Poutou.  “Once I received the call to participate, I agreed without hesitating.”

    Everyone remembers those they have lost in their own way.  Fred Rivera remembers his son’s conviction and strength of faith and even looked to him as a role model.

    “He touched the heart of many who came to know him,” said Rivera.  “Today, I thank you my son for your life of love.  You were even an example for me.”

    -30-

      20121020-A-UK577-020

    Col. Leo J. Ruth II, commander, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, addresses an audience during a dedication ceremony Saturday, Oct 20 in Round Rock, Texas.  This house, in addition to the flag pole and street, were dedicated in honor of Sgt. Paul Rivera, a local Round Rock resident and a  Soldier, who was killed in Logar province, Afghanistan.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     20121020-A-UK577-039

     1st Sgt Alexander Poutou and Staff Sgt. Michael Branch, members of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club out of Fort Hood, raise the American flag during a dedication ceremony for Sgt. Paul Rivera in Round Rock, Texas on Oct 20.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     20121020-A-UK577-032

    Members of the Combat Vets Association motorcycle club look on as Col Leo J. Ruth II, commander, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, addresses the audience during a dedication ceremony in Round Rock, Texas Saturday, Oct 20.  The dedication was to honor Sgt. Paul Rivera, a local resident who gave his life while serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)       

     20121020-A-UK577-085copy

    Friends take a look at a photo album while they remember Sgt. Paul Rivera during a reception following the dedication ceremony Oct 20 in Round Rock, Texas.  The reception took place in a new home built by Ashton Woods Homes in honor of Rivera.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     20121020-A-UK577-080

    Col. Leo J. Ruth II, commander, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, speaks with Fred Rivera following a dedication ceremony Oct 20 in Round Rock, Texas.  Fred Rivera is the father of Sgt. Paul Rivera, the Soldier honored through the dedication of a flag pole, home and street.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)          

  • Article and Photos by Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    FORT BRAGG, N.C. –  There could not be a more perfect day to hold an activation ceremony on Rafferty Field as the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and Fort Bragg Community activated the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion, Sept. 25.

    Warrior Diplomats from the newly activated 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion unfurled their colors for the first time in the presence of leadership from the John F Kennedy Special Warfare Training Center, and the veterans from the 41st Civil Affairs Company. 

    "I can think of no better home for the 83rd CA Battalion than Fort Bragg and the Fayetteville community," said Col. Leo J. Ruth II, commander of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. “The 83rd CA Battalion will play a critical role in supporting our long term partners and our newly formed partners Iraq and Afghanistan in the near future.”

    The 83rd CA battalion is setup specifically to support operations conducted within the US Central Command area of responsibility, which is predominately the Middle East to include the Sinai and the Horn of Africa.   These teams, while operating in a small four-person team, can provide the critical part in mission success for the commander on the ground.

    “This unit provides the commander a team with different language skills, our Soldiers are trained with different negotiation skills as well as the very tactical skills necessary to operate as a small unit,” said Lt. Col. William Rice, Commander of the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion.

    The 83rd Ca Battalion also hosted some special visitors who attended the ceremony.  These guests were veterans from the 41st Civil Affairs Company.  The battalion’s lineage will continue to live on, as the 83rd CA Battalion will take the lead.  

    “It’s incredible to start off with a brand new unit with such a history of the 41st Civil Affairs Company,” said Rice

     The 41st Civil Affairs Company conducted civil affairs operations inside Nhu Trang, Vietnam from 1965 thru 1970.  Their mission was to bolster faith in the Republic of Vietnam Government by helping to “win the hearts and minds” of the rural population by assisting with construction, agriculture, medical, economic, and educational programs that will improve standard of living within the population.

                 “Before, we were operating by the seat of our pants,” said Cmd. Sgt. Maj. (retired) Jimmie Gonzalez, 70, of San Antonio, Texas. “It is great to see this unit getting it figured out with the current training and equipment these Soldiers are using when it comes to conducting civil affairs.”

    -30-

    2012-09-25-W5135-01 

    Warrior diplomats from the newly activated 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion, along with other diplomats from the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and other various units from across Fort Bragg, N.C. all joined together with friends and family to celebrate the activation of the second civil affairs battalion to support conventional military forces in support of Central Command operations.  The 83rd CA Battalion is under the command of Lt. Col. William Rice and Command Sgt. Maj. Devon Lewis. Also joining the celebration were members of the 41st Civil Affairs Company which was deactivated after 1975. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office)

     2012-09-25-W5135-02

    Lt Col William Rice and Cmd Sgt Maj. Devon Lewis unfurl the Battalion colors as a symbol of the unit activation.  The 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion mission is to organize, train, equip and deploy forces in support of operations under U.S. Central Command area of operations.  The 83rd CA Battalion in any environment, to conduct Civil Affairs operations to mitigate civil vulnerabilities in order to advance U.S. goals and policies within relevant foreign populations, in support of combatant commanders and U.S. ambassadors. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office)

     2012-09-25-W5135-03

    During the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion Activation ceremony on Tuesday Sept. 25, the Battalion hosted not only members from across the Fort Bragg community, but also some very special guests who served with the 41st Civil Affairs Company in Vietnam (from left): retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmie Gonzalez, 70, of San Antonio; Ray Sullivan, 68, of San Mateo, Calif.; and Earl Palmer, 72, of Gainesville, Ga. They served between 1967 and 1970.  The 41st CA Battalion’s great history will live on as the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion will continue its lineage into the future. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office)

  • Article by Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     FORT HOOD, Texas –BOOM!  Billowing columns of smoke poured from windows as cries for help fill the air.  A screaming woman can be seen carrying a small infant through the panicked crowd of local residents just struck by an artillery round that has wrecked simulated havoc on a small town located at the BOAZ Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) site Sept 12.

     Local leaders run to the street as they wildly wave their arms in an attempt to communicate a sense of urgency to the approaching American Soldiers.  As the small group of Soldiers enter into the town they are immediately inundated by the chaos of multiple casualties, angry mobs and adamant foreign officials trying to get resolution to their plight all at once. The Soldiers, assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, make-up a civil affairs team or CAT and were expected to calmly manage the situation as some evaluate and treat casualties, and others maintain security and address the concerns of the local leaders, using translators to communicate.

    Training since the unit activation nearly one year ago to now, this was just one of many scenarios the civil affairs Soldiers encountered as they participated in their culmination exercise from Sept. 4 to Sept. 18 in preparation for an upcoming deployment.

    The scenario-based training was intended to improve the civil affairs team members’ skills in a myriad of fields, such as civil reconnaissance, civil engagements, project management, veterinary evaluation and treatment, key leader engagements and site assessments as they prepare for an upcoming deployment slated for later this year.

    “The training up to this point has been individual training.  This culmination exercise really pulls it together,” said Command Sgt Maj. Ronald Barker, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion.  “It is all collective tasks that they will have to accomplish as a team, utilizing those individual skills.”

    In a deployed environment, the civil affairs teams are expected to work with a wide range of units ranging from special operations groups to traditional infantry and engineer.  Comprised of just four Soldiers, including a team leader, team sergeant, sergeant and junior enlisted Soldier, each civil affairs team member is expected to have the ability and knowledge to shoot, move and communicate efficiently and effectively to successfully complete any mission.

    “These teams will be working with infantry and armor battalions, so they are expected to be able to perform tactically,” said Barker. ”So we can move with them safely to the objective.”

    To further equip these Soldiers with the required skills, they took part in scout gunnery tables and convoy live fire exercises.  The training, however, goes further than just weapons and warrior tasks.  As a four man team, the CAT rely heavily on a well round, robust training regime that further builds on the ability of the small unit to operate independently from larger echelons, such as company or battalion sized elements.

    “The difference in training from a traditional maneuver element compared to a civil affairs company,” said Lt Col Joshua Potter, commander, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, “is that we all still have the same warrior tasks that any other Army unit must do, in addition to skill sets that enable us to accomplish civil reconnaissance and civil engagements. This means extra language training and training specifically on the different regions we will be working in,” said Potter.

    While deployed, the battalion will not be focused on any one area, rather throughout the entire country of Afghanistan, working within 20 areas.  According to the battalion commander, the unit will be responsible for supporting civil operations as far north as Mazar-i-Sharif and down to Kandahar.

    “We have [studied] for weeks, zeroing in on specific districts that we will be working in, said Potter.”These teams and these companies know those districts and provinces they will be working in very well.”

    Civil operations in a deployed environment entail skills beyond weapons familiarization and basic warrior tasks and drills.  Civil affairs units often receive training in addition to the basics.  A core civil affairs competency is the ability to successfully negotiate terms of agreement during key leader engagements.  Utilizing a traveling team from West Point’s Behavioral Science and Leadership Department, Soldiers received advanced negotiations training, which will be used when the teams meet with local leaders as they assess the needs of an area.

    Negotiation skills make up one building block of the training process required to conduct the civil reconnaissance operations required of any civil affairs team.  Language training is also required of the team members so as to facilitate communication with the local population.  Together these skills are used when the team leader interacts with village leadership during a key leader engagement.

    “The nuances of what we do look simple, but are quite complex,” said Capt. Tammy Sloulin, an 81st CA Bn. civil affairs team leader.  “When dialoguing with someone through an interpreter and trying to remember the customs and courtesies of a culture can be challenging.”

    “The more we can be involved in that sort of training,” said Sloulin, “the better capable we are to conduct ourselves downrange.”

    As a team leader, Sloulin takes a lead role at times during key leader engagements.

    A key leader engagement is a meeting in which members of the civil affairs team proactively engage the area leaders in a meeting to assess and outline the particular needs of a specific area.  This scenario was used during the training that took place to familiarize the team with the sequence of events, as well as utilizing translators in their negotiations.

    The particular scenario required the CAT leader to meet a village farmer, assess the condition of a herd of goats and take samples that were notionally tested at a simulated medical facility.

    “Every day through this culmination exercise, we are doing different scenarios. So this particular scenario we are in the village and [civil affairs team members] have to meet with local leaders,” said Maj. Seth Middleton, operations officer for 81st Civil Affairs Battalion. “The medics, using their training, are investigating the underlying cause of the simulated sickness.”

    As much of the Afghan nation is agrarian, or farm, having the knowledge and ability to successfully examine animals such as goats and horses allows civil affairs teams another tool in their toolbox when building positive relations with a local populace.  The medics of the 81st Civil Affairs battalion practiced these skills during the culmination exercise during the above scenario.

    “I thought it was very beneficial,” said Spc. John Friberg, an 81st Civil Affairs Team medic.  “Being able to assess animals gets you closer to the locals in Afghanistan.”

    As a paramedic prior to enlisting in the Army, Friberg saw few differences with assessing a goat during the training exercise, as compared to a human casualty.

    “The only difference really is that the goats can’t really talk back,” he said.

    While animal evaluation may play a large role in building rapport with local villagers while deployed, a large portion of the exercise focused on recreating the deployed environment. 

    Accomplishing such a broad training exercise required support from units local to Fort Hood, as well as indigenous personnel from countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Turkey.

    Soldiers assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment took part in the training filling the role as security forces to the civil affairs teams as they maneuvered through the MOUT site.  While monitoring the crowds seemed simple enough, some 3rd CR Soldiers were surprised to see how fluidly the CAT moved through the crowds of role players with little hesitation. 

    “We are masters of the basics,” said Master Sgt. Bryan Lockwald, the Civil Management Operation Center NCO for 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion, Fort Bragg, N.C.  “You can practice warrior tasks and drills, but we know we can react.  That gives us the ability to go out in small teams.”

    Additional support was provided by indigenous personnel from countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq and Turkey.  These individuals were asked to play roles such as translators, mullahs, town mayors and corrupt individuals.  They were also asked to inform Soldiers participating in the training of any possible cultural gaffes that may occur during the training scenarios.

    Employed by a company called Combat Training Solutions, these vital contracted role players offer a sense of authenticity that can only be duplicated during deployments and were asked to fulfill certain roles for the duration of the two week training exercise.

    One such role player acted as an interpreter during the final days of the exercise, but has supported other training exercises in a similar capacity. 

    “I have worked five years,” said one role player. “Three years in Austin, two years in Baghdad, Iraq I am excited to work here.”

    Some of these role players have made tremendous sacrifices to flee war torn countries such as Iraq, just to have the opportunity to live and work in the United States.

    “I am one of the lucky ones,” said a female role player that asked to remain anonymous.  “I was lucky to escape the violence of my country.”

    Even though the culmination exercise was meant to test a civil affairs team and its capabilities under duress and deployed conditions, the main goal was to stress and practice a main objective throughout the scenarios. 

    “It’s not about us finding short term fixes,” said Middleton. “It’s about finding long term solutions and drawing the Afghan government in to implement those solutions.”

    This particular training exercise wrapped up training that has taken place since October of last year, shortly after the unit officially activated.  Up to now, segments used in the culmination exercise were used as stand-alone training tools to hone specific skills.  For instance, in November of last year, B Co., 81st CA Bn., used a small mock up of a town to focus specifically on site assessment abilities.

    As the unit completes the training, they prepare now for a scheduled deployment ceremony in late November.  A nine month deployment to Afghanistan is slated to begin soon thereafter.

    Working in unison with Army units, combatant commanders and local government officials, 81st CA Bn intends to provide the Afghan people the skills, materials and knowledge necessary to aid in an autonomous nation.

    “Throughout the course of our time [in Afghanistan] our goal is to empower the government, so we can draw out and so they can solve their own problems without us there,” said Middleton.

    -30-

     A local Imam surveys the situation

     A local Imam surveys the situation as Soldiers assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion carry casualties to a building for further assessment during a culmination exercise at BOAZ MOUT site Sept 4 through Sept 18.  The exercise marked the final major training event for the unit prior to their scheduled deployment later this year.  Photo by Army Maj Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs.

     A role player clears the path

    A role player clears the path for 81st Civil Affairs Battalion Soldiers as they carry a casualty to a designated triage site during a culmination exercise Sept 4 through Sept 18 here.  Photo by Army Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th CA Bde PAO.

     Pvt 1st Class Leah Truss

    Pvt 1st Class Leah Truss, an 81st Civil Affairs Battalion Civil Affairs Team medic evaluates a casualty during a culmination training exercise Sept 4 through Sept 18 at BOAZ MOUT site.  The exercise replicated different scenarios that the Soldiers could expect to encounter while deployed.  Photo by Army Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th CA Bde PAO.

     Baby carry

    An 81st Civil Affairs Battalion Soldier evacuates a young infant to the triage site during a culmination training exercise Sept 4 through Sept 18 at BOAZ MOUT site.  Photo by Army Army Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     Two Soldiers assist in loading a casualty

    Two Soldiers assist in loading a casualty into a simulated ambulance during a culmination training exercise at BOAZ MOUT site Sept 4 through Sept 18.  Photo by Army Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th CA Bde PAO.

     A security force Soldier assists a role player

    A security force Soldier assists a role player to the triage site during a culmination training exercise at BOAZ MOUT site Sept 4 through Sept 18.  Soldiers from other units took part in the training to support 81st Civil Affairs Battalion as they completed  the final stages of training prior to a scheduled December deployment.  Photo by Army Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th CA Bde PAO.

    Two Soldiers buddy drag 

    Two Soldiers assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion drag a casualty to safety during a culmination training exercise.  The Soldiers were taking part in the improvised explosive device IED reaction portion of the exercise.  Photo by Army Staff Sgt David House, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     Spc. Ruth Ledesma treats casualty

    Spc. Ruth Ledesma, an 81st Civil Affairs Battalion Civil Affairs Team medic, evaluates a casualty in the bed of a vehicle during the IED reaction portion of  a culmination training exercise Sept 4 through Sept 18.  Photo by Army Staff Sgt David House, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     Spc Valerie Coolbaugh treats casualty

    Spc. Valerie Coolbaugh, an 81st Civil Affairs Battalion Civil Affairs Team medic, checks the pulse of a casualty during a culmination training exercise.  Photo by Army Staff Sgt David House, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     Capt. Aaron Smith joins hands with a village

    Capt. Aaron Smith, an 81st Civil Affairs Battalion civil affairs team leader, joins hands with a village leader during a culmination training exercise at BOAZ MOUT site Sept 4 through Sept 18.  The training exercise used some scenario based training intended to challenge civil affairs soldiers in their abilities to assess the local population, as well as their ability to weed out negative powerbrokers, while promoting the positive powerbrokers.  Photo by Army Sgt. Eric Cullen, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     Capt Stephanie Downard

    Capt Stephanie Downard, an 81st Civil Affairs Battalion civil affairs team leader, speaks to local police through an interpreter during a culmination training exercise Sept 4 through Sept 18 at BOAZ MOUT site.  Photo by Army Sgt. Eric Cullen, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     Spc Valerie Coolbaugh

    Spc. Valerie Coolbaugh, an 81st Civil Affairs Battalion civil affairs team medic, performs and evaluation on a goat during a culmination training exercise Sept 4 through Sept 18.  As the team medic, Coolbaugh is expected to be proficient in not only human medicine, but also simple veterinary medicine as well.  Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     An 81st Civil Affairs Battalion talks to tribal leader

    An 81st Civil Affairs Battalion civil Affairs team leader speaks to a local leader during a culmination training exercise at BOAZ MOUT site Sept 4 through Sept 18.  The training exercise was the final stage of nearly a year of training to prepare the unit for an upcoming deployment in December.  Photo by Army Staff Sgt David House, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs

     Staff Sgt. Nancy Morales talks with police chief

    Staff Sgt. Nancy Morales, a medic with 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, speaks to local villagers to gain an early assessment on the situation at hand.  Morales and the battalion were taking part in a culmination training exercise at BOAZ MOUT site Sept 4 though Sept 18.  Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     All Soldiers within a civil affairs team

    All Soldiers within a civil affairs team are asked to fill any role required to accomplish the mission.  Here, Spec John Thompson, a civil affairs team medic with 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, assists with security as his team evaluates and evacuates the other casualties during a culmination training exercise Sept 4 through Sept 18 at BOAZ MOUT site.  Photo by Army Maj Bryan Woods, 85th CA Bde PAO.

     Two civil affairs team members treat a goat

    Two civil affairs team members assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion examine a goat during a culmination training exercise Sept 4 through Sept 18 at BOAZ MOUT site.  Civil affairs medics are often expected to have the ability to conduct animal examinations while deployed.  Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

     Two Soldiers assist a casualty

    Two Soldiers assist a casualty to the triage location during a culmination training exercise at BOAZ MOUT site Sept 4 through Sept 18.   Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde Public Affairs.

  • Story and photos by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    KILLEEN, Texas – The start of a new school year means new books, new pencils and for some an entire new school building as leadership from the partnered unit 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, military Families from Fort Hood and members from the local community all came together to celebrate the new Killeen Independent School District Career Center building dedication, August 26.

    The state of the art two story building, which features more than 160,000 square feet, was completed after a year of construction and twelve years of planning and development. Students are afforded the opportunity to focus on 8 career paths that will give them valuable skills to either earn an industry standard certification as they continue on to college, directly enter the workforce after graduation, or both.

    “Reading, writing and arithmetic, all to the tune of a hickory stick,” said Representative Jimmie Don Aycock, District 54 of the Texas House of Representatives. “This isn’t that school.”

    “It is very different from what many of us grew up with. This one of the most advanced, prestigious and exciting facilities in the state of Texas,” said Aycock.

    That motto may no longer be in use these days but it does help to emphasize the change in educational doctrine. A doctrine that is driven not only by the desires of the students but reflects the current and future workplace needs.

     “We are door openers,” said Marvin Rainwater, Career Center Executive Director. “We try to get the students involved in post secondary education; with that being defined as anything that occurs after high school, not just your traditional college. That might be on-the-job training, workplace certification or military training. We want the students to be ready and successful.”

    The center is available to any high school student within the KISD and currently offers programs in Arts, Agriculture, Health Science, Information Technology, Architecture, Automotive, Manufacturing and Cosmetology with more planned for future growth.

    “A student just needs to go see their high school counselor to sign up for a program that they show interest in,” said Alison Belliveau, KISD career and technical education coordinator. “The school differs not only from the typical high school class but also gives the student a taste of a college and a workplace environment. All of which will give the student a leg up when they graduate and move on.”

    The new building also marks the one year anniversary of the schools partnership with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. The brigade ‘adopted’ the school last year and has put in more than 75 hours of volunteer work in assisting the students with various classes.

    “This past year we have sent over some of our medics to work with the students in the health science cluster,” Lt. Col. Joshua Potter, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion commander. “They taught them everything from CPR, basic first aid, everything that was Red Cross certified as assistant instructors. The primary instructors of course came from KISD but our young medics who are about the same age group as the students were able to give them not only medical skills but also life skills and tell them what it is like to be a Soldier here in central Texas.

    The brigade will continue the training partnership by sending Soldiers over to the Career Center to share some of their time and knowledge with both sides of the desk ultimately benefiting throughout the school year and beyond.

    -30-

     20120826-A-HF471-001a

    The Killeen Independent School District held a building dedication and grand opening for the new Career Center, August 26. The school is partnered with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade to share knowledge that will help students and Soldiers alike. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     20120826-A-HF471-007a

    The Killeen Independent School District held a building dedication and grand opening for the new Career Center, August 26. The school is partnered with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade to share knowledge that will help students and Soldiers alike. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     20120826-A-HF471-032a

    Lt. Col. Joshua Potter, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion commander, greets Gen. (ret) Robert M. Shoemaker and his wife Tuke, during the Killeen Independent School District Career Center building dedication August 26. The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade has partnered with the school to share knowledge that will help students and Soldiers alike. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     20120826-A-HF471-034a

    Marvin Rainwater, Killeen Independent School District Career Center Executive Director, talks about the growth and future of the local community and how it reflects the new KISD Career Center at the schools new building dedication August 26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     20120826-A-HF471-053a

    Dr. Robert Muller, Ph.D., Killeen Independent School District Superintendent, thanks the crowd for the massive turn out at the KISD Career Center building dedication and grand opening, August 26. The school is partnered with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade to share knowledge that will help students and Soldiers alike. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Three years ago a young couple struck out to begin a life together with the hope of happiness amid all the challenges that faced them.  One deployment and a permanent change of station later, their marriage is one signature away from ending.

                With more than 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce, programs are put into place to help improve communications between married couples.  Since 1999, the Strong Bonds program was developed to assist Soldiers and Families.

                The Chaplain-led program utilizes different tools and programs to train and teach those seeking assistance for improvement, both individual and relational.

                One of these programs, The Five Love Languages, was put to use during a couples retreat hosted by 85th Civil Affairs Brigade ministry team here Aug. 23-25 that more than 15 Fort Hood-based couples attended.

                Maj. Joe Coolman, a Civil Affairs Planning Team officer with 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, and Maj. Katy Coolman, a Military Information Support Operations officer assigned to 1st Cavalry Division are one couple taking advantage of the opportunity to reconnect after an extended period of separation due to deployments and differing duty assignments.

                “We were separated for the better part of three years,” said Joe Coolman. “So it’s like we are newlyweds again.”

                “This retreat is a nice refresher,” said Katy Coolman.

                The Five Languages program focused on unique ways people send and receive messages of affection with their significant others which varied from words of affirmation to physical touches. The couples explored which languages they spoke, as well as their partner.

                The duration of marriage varied from couple to couple, from newlyweds with just three weeks together, to couples with more than 10 years.  Utilizing surveys, lectures and couples discussion time, the program sought to transcend all levels of marriage experience, offering useful information for everyone.

                “I never knew how happy nick was with our relationship,” said Jackie Arkells, spouse of Spec. Nick Arkells, a legal specialist assigned to 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.  “During this retreat, I found out that his tank is at a nine.”

                This love tank, as referred to in the 5 Languages program, provides participants the opportunity to assign their level of happiness a numeric value.

                “It’s ridiculous how simple it is to make each other happy,” said Spec. Arkells.

                Having just over a year married, the Arkells represented one of the younger married couples.  Sgt. 1st Class Armin Englerth and wife Jessica, however, have more than ten years married and learned how one another express and accept apology.

                “Learning about our apologies seemed to be the most useful information,” said Jessica Englerth.

                “Overall, the retreat gives us another tool to help us along in our relationships,” said Sgt. 1st Class Englerth, the chemical NCOIC with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.  “There wasn’t one particular thing that I can say stood out more than the other.”

                Five Love Languages is a series developed by Gary Chapman, director of Marriage and Family Life Consultants services, and adopted by the Army Strong Bonds Program as a tool to train and teach Soldiers and their Families.

                The Strong Bonds program began in 1999, growing from just a small participant group of 90 couples stationed within the 25th Infantry Division, Hawaii.  A study completed in fiscal year 2010 showed a 50 percent reduction in the divorce rate of military Families.

                More than 160,000 Soldiers and Family members have participated in more than 2,600 events across the globe.  For more information or to find a Strong Bonds event, contact your unit chaplain or visit www.strongbonds.org

    Maj. (Ch) Bradley Godding, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, addresses more than 15 couples during a Strong Bonds retreat in San Antonio Aug 23-25.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

    Maj. (Ch) Bradley Godding, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, addresses more than 15 couples during a Strong Bonds retreat in San Antonio Aug 23-25.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

    Maj. Joe Coolman, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, and Maj. Katy Coolman, 1st Cavalry Division, work to complete a survey during a Strong Bonds retreat in San Antonio Aug. 23-25.  The Coolmans looked to utilize the retreat to reconnect after an extended period of separation. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

    Maj. Joe Coolman, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, and Maj. Katy Coolman, 1st Cavalry Division, work to complete a survey during a Strong Bonds retreat in San Antonio Aug. 23-25.  The Coolmans looked to utilize the retreat to reconnect after an extended period of separation. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

     Maj. (Ch) Bradley Godding, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, talks a couple through survey results during a Strong Bonds retreat in San Antonio Aug 23-25.  The survey, part of the Five Languages program, defined how the couple communicated affection and their expectations of each other.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

    Maj. (Ch) Bradley Godding, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, talks a couple through survey results during a Strong Bonds retreat in San Antonio Aug 23-25.  The survey, part of the Five Languages program, defined how the couple communicated affection and their expectations of each other.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.).

    Sgt. 1st Class Armin Englerth, a chemicical NCOIC with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, takes painstaking care to properly complete a communication survey during a Strong Bonds retreat in San Antonio Aug 23-25. (photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

    Sgt. 1st Class Armin Englerth, a chemicical NCOIC with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, takes painstaking care to properly complete a communication survey during a Strong Bonds retreat in San Antonio Aug 23-25. (photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

     

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Everyone has been there.  Frustrated with that person in the office or at home because they don’t see things your way or they just seem to push your buttons.

               Soldiers from 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion took part in a single Soldier retreat Aug 20-22 that focused on understanding why this happens and how to manage the situation based on understanding personalities and attitudes. 

                “Our attitudes towards life influence how we spend our money, what kind of relationships we have and our attitudes influence our health and how we think about it,” said Maj. (Ch) Bradley Godding, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade chaplain.  “The Real Life Management program intends to help us understand why we are the way we are.”

                Using materials developed by Real Life Management, and support from the Fort Hood Garrison ministry team, Godding provided the Soldiers with skills that would benefit them in the work place, as well as their personal life.

                One of the training exercises, the 3-Minute Survey, boiled down concepts of traditional psychological and personality tests to a level that could be understood by anyone.

                Pvt. 1st Class Chauncy Macdonald, a communications specialist with Bravo Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, saw the survey as an accurate assessment tool.

                “The survey, I thought, was dead on and it described how people get along with each other pretty accurately,” said Macdonald.

                A main goal of the 3-Minute Survey was to provide the users with a visualization of their personalities, in this case boats.  As the class moved forward, the Soldiers began to recognize their own attitudes as a barge, tug boat, or sail boat.

                “I like how it showed people getting along using this visualization,” said Macdonald.

                In addition to this portion of the retreat, Soldiers here were among the first to participate in a program for individuals which targeted to improve communication skills in life situations.  As part of the Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program, PREP is for individuals who seek to train and teach individuals, like single Soldiers.

                “The individual program has been in development for approximately four years,” said Natalie Jenkins, President, PREP for individuals.  “We sought to create a program that was targeted towards adult learners and a younger audience.”

                Jenkins took part in an assessment of the training following the conclusion of the class so as to receive direct feedback from participants for possible changes that need to be made.

                Since 1993, PREP has worked with all branches of service to provide training for servicemembers. PREP for individuals, however, has been in development for just the last four years.  Fort Hood is among one of the few military installations implementing the training in these early stages so as to iron out any flaws or inconsistencies that may occur.

     Sgt. 1st Class Michael P. Connor, director of religious support NCOIC for Fort Hood Garrison, answers a question for Spec. Edward Shultz of Bravo Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion.  Collins was an instructor during the single Soldiers retreat in San Antonio Aug 20-22. The intent of the retreat was to provide guidance and instruction to the Soldiers to improve their communication skills within personal and professional relationships.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

    Sgt. 1st Class Michael P. Connor, director of religious support NCOIC for Fort Hood Garrison, answers a question for Spec. Edward Shultz of Bravo Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion.  Collins was an instructor during the single Soldiers retreat in San Antonio Aug 20-22. The intent of the retreat was to provide guidance and instruction to the Soldiers to improve their communication skills within personal and professional relationships.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

     Maj. (Ch) Bradley Godding, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, explains how colors associate with individual personalities in the context of a single Soldiers retreat in San Antonio Aug 20-22. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

    Maj. (Ch) Bradley Godding, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, explains how colors associate with individual personalities in the context of a single Soldiers retreat in San Antonio Aug 20-22. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs.)

     Specialist Christopher Kennedy, a communications specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, works to complete an exercise during a single Soldiers retreat Aug 20-22 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

    Spec. Christopher Kennedy, a communications specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, works to complete an exercise during a single Soldiers retreat Aug 20-22 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

     Natalie Jenkins, President, PREP for individuals, thanks Sgt 1st Class Collins for his work during a single Soldier retreat Aug 20-22.  Jenkins Addressed the Soldiers next to ask for suggestions that may improve the PREP program for future classes. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

    Natalie Jenkins, President, PREP for individuals, thanks Sgt 1st Class Collins for his work during a single Soldier retreat Aug 20-22.  Jenkins Addressed the Soldiers next to ask for suggestions that may improve the PREP program for future classes. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs)

  • Story by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     FORT HOOD, Texas – Cheers and applause filled the air as the ribbon is cut to open a new health clinic. It might have been a simulated medical clinic, but the training behind it was very much real as members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion spent a week honing their skills during a battalion Field Training Exercise at the Hargrove Military Operation in Urban Terrain Facility August 13 to 17.

    “Our FTX has been designed to focus on [downrange] scenarios in which teams encounter a variety of situations to further enhance their operating procedures” said Capt. Jeffrey Chase, Company D, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. “The unexpected surprises, which were deliberately written into each scenario based on past experiences, helped keep us on our toes.”

    Some of the scenarios that the Civil Affairs Soldiers encountered included key leader engagements, project management, react to enemy contact and improvised explosive devices as well as casualty response and evacuation.

    One unexpected surprise during the event was the insertion of reporters on the battlefield. Knowing how to adapt to their presence was a key thing on the minds of many.

    “The media is something that I thought I knew but this really showed us all that we need to be aware of who else is on the battlefield,” said Capt. Stephanie Downard, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion team leader. “Learning about it now is better than down the road while deployed.”

    The ever presence of media to include social media has revolutionized not only the way conflicts are reported but the way conflicts actually begin and ultimately end.  But to be successful all falls back on ones training and proper planning.

    “Planning,” Staff Sgt. Joe Perez, Delta Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, stated. “Whenever you get a good mission, plan to have unlimited courses of action for each mission as that can only help you as anything can happen.”

    “Being out here at this event helped expose our weaknesses on what we needed to train on as well acknowledging our strengths in coming together as teams” said Perez. “This opened our eyes on what we can achieve as a team.”

    The weeklong field exercise not only showed them their capabilities as a Warrior Diplomat and as a Civil Affairs Team, but gave them a clearer picture of what needs to be strengthened in order to prepare for the inevitable as a unit.

    “Having been deployed before I have experienced similar events that we dealt with today and it is very realistic for our teams,” Chase said. “Additionally, I would like to see our teams be able to interact with infantry and armor units so that they can learn to embed themselves with them and for the maneuver units to learn what we, as civil affairs, do while on a mission.”

    This field training exercise was just one of many that the 81st CA Battalion has participated in and is the prelude to the upcoming 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Culmination Exercise or CULFEX scheduled for the month of September.     

    -30-

     

      20120816-W5135-0125a

    20120816-W5135-0125a
    Members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion and a town role player rush a patient out to link up with a Blackhawk helicopter from the 1st Cavalry Division to assist with medical evacuation training. The event was part of a weeklong field training exercise held at the Hargrove MOUT Facility on North Fort Hood. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     

     20120816-W5135-0161a

    20120816-W5135-0161a
    Members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion react to an insurgent attack during a weeklong field training exercise held at the Hargrove MOUT Facility on North Fort Hood. The exercise featured many scenarios to test the battalion on various basic Soldier and Civil Affairs specific skill sets. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     

    20120816-W5135-0109a
    As part of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion field training exercise, members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion were graded on their ability tend to patients during a mass casualty (MASCAL) event, coordinate with village leaders during key leader engagements, and through unveiling a new facility during a ribbon cutting ceremony. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     20120816-W5135-0104a

    20120816-W5135-0104a

    Members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion plan out a react to contact training exercise. The event was one of many scenarios in which the battalion tested itself over the course of a week at the Hargrove MOUT Facility on North Fort Hood. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     

     20120816-W5135-0107a

    20120816-W5135-0107a

    Local village role players cry out to a security team during a training event at the Hargrove MOUT Facility on North Fort Hood Aug. 15. The training was part of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion weeklong field exercise. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

     20120816-HF471-141a

    20120816-HF471-141a
    Staff Sgt.Aiden Che, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th CA Bde., introduces local villagers to his team leader, Capt. Aaron Smith during a medical clinic ribbon cutting ceremony.  The event, while fictitious, did offer a real world training scenario to members of the battalion during their weeklong field training exercise held at the Hargrove MOUT Facility on North Fort Hood. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO)

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    FORT HOOD, Texas A young boy lines up his shot with tongue-protruding concentration. Steadying the bow, the child releases the string and watched as the arrow pierced a hay-filled square with a muffled thunk.  In a flourish, the boy reaches in the quiver for another arrow and an opportunity to duplicate his recent success.

                Soldiers and Families from across the installation were invited to participate in Centershot ministries, a program hosted by the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade ministry team, Monday, July 30, which Family members of all ages used the opportunity to strengthen their faith and archery skills through life lessons taught using the word of God. 

                “Regularly reading the Bible teaches fundamentals of life,” said Maj. (Ch) Bradley Godding, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Chaplain and ministry team leader.  “Archery puts those fundamentals into practice.”

    For more than a decade, Army Families have experienced life challenges due to deployment of loved ones, as well as hectic schedules at home consisting of shuttling the kids to and fro.  Centershot provides those families the opportunity to refocus on the fundamentals and to reconnect as a unit. 

                Cpt. (Ch) David Redden, a chaplain assigned to 3rd Cavalry Regiment, assisted in the program; leading the group in the devotional following the archery portion of the class. 

                “Families are torn in different directions,” said Redden. “We wanted to use this as an opportunity to bring them back together.”

                Developed by civilian ministry groups as a way to develop interest of more men in bible study as well as providing a positive role model for young boys and teens that may not have a male influence in their lives, Centershot focuses on the individual Soldier. 

                “While the program is used by civilians as a means to increase male attendance,” Said Sgt. Joshua Lee, a Chaplain’s Assistant with the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.  “Army communities that choose to use this program focus on the individual, male or female.”         

    One participant, Sgt. Patrick Grill, of 3rd Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, along with his four children, participated in an earlier class.             “This class was a good hands on example, rather than a purist approach of just reading the Bible,” said Grill.  “The Archery lessons provided a more masculine approach to Bible study as well.”

                The program is scheduled for an additional five weeks, culminating with a day at Belton Lake to wrap up the lesson with Family, fellowship and archery. 

    -30-

     Center Shot Ministries_2012-07-30-001

    Nicole Redden assists her daughter, Faith, in reading a passage from the Bible during the devotional portion of the Centershot ministry event Monday, 30 July.  The program uses Archery to help participants visualize concepts of life lessons taught by the Bible.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs.)

    Centershot_ministries_2012-07-30-002 

    Cpt. (Ch) Patrick Cobb helps his son, Soren,6, practice a pull on a bow before moving on to arrows during the Centershot ministry Monday, July 30. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85ht Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs.)

    Centershot_ministries_2012-07-30-003 

    A young participant of the Centershot ministry lets an arrow fly towards the target Monday July 30.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs.)

    Centershot_ministries_2012-07-30-004 

    Maj.(Ch) Bradley Godding,  Chaplain, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, demonstrates the proper release technique using a string bow during the Centershot ministry class Monday July 30.  This was the second session of the six-week program that is designed to teach life lessons of the Bible through archery. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs.)

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    FORT HOOD, Texas – The tranquil summer morning was interrupted by sporadic bursts of machine gun fire and the smell of carbon as members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion took part in an M-240B Machine Gun zero and qualification range July 6.

    “The intent of the range is to get gun crews qualified in preparation for a motorized gunnery and convoy live fire,” said Capt. Jeffrey Chase, a Delta Company team leader. “This range is especially important because many of our Soldiers have not fired this weapon system outside of basic training or advanced individual training.”

    While all Soldiers within the battalion are expected to qualify with their assigned weapons, such as M-4 carbine rifles and M-9 pistols, limited crew serve weapon availability provide fewer opportunities for Soldiers to qualify on the machine gun. 

    Each civil affairs team within each civil affairs battalion will have a vehicle crew that will contain a machine gun.  It is essential that each member of the vehicle crew is familiar with, and can use a crew served weapon, such as the M-240B machine gun. Increasing the skillset of Soldiers and strengthening the team utilizing this type of training benefits the unit’s capabilities as Soldiers deploys.

    “This range is a great opportunity to learn and develop the team and these support skills,” said Chase.

    “It’s important Soldiers learn how to use this weapon system,” said Col Leo J. Ruth II, commander, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. “Knowing this weapon system improves survivability when these Soldiers deploy in small teams.”

    Understanding the importance of this weapon system, experienced Soldiers and NCOs took advantage of this opportunity to train the less experienced.  One of the lesser experienced Soldiers, Pvt. 1st Class Leah Truss, a medic assigned to Delta Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, took advantage of the training.

    “I haven’t fired this weapon since basic,” Truss said. “Even then, it was just familiarization; kind of like just pulling the trigger just to feel the weapon fire.”

    Eventually, Truss took her position on the firing line. Listening to her assistant gunner call out the necessary adjustments, Truss deftly placed the rounds up to and including 800 meters down range.  Truss was the first medic within the company to qualify, let alone at an expert level.

    “I love it,” Truss said of the training.            

    -30-

     Private 1st Class Truss and her assistant gunner, Sgt. 1st Class Galindo, police up round casings and links in and around the firing point following qualification.  Truss was the first medic within her company to qualify on the 240B machine gun. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA BDE Public Affairs)

    Private 1st Class Truss and her assistant gunner, Sgt. 1st Class Galindo, police up round casings and links in and around the firing point following qualification.  Truss was the first medic within her company to qualify on the 240B machine gun. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA BDE Public Affairs)

      An assistant gunner uses binoculars to see targets at the M-240B range July 6.  M-240B gunners are expected to hit targets as far away as 800 meters during qualification. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA BDE Public Affairs)

    An assistant gunner uses binoculars to see targets at the M-240B range July 6.  M-240B gunners are expected to hit targets as far away as 800 meters during qualification. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA BDE Public Affairs)

    A Soldier assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion actively engages targets down range during qualification at the M-240B range 6 July.  The range was part of a series of training exercises preparing Soldiers for a motorized gunnery scheduled later this month. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA BDE Public Affairs) 

    A Soldier assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion actively engages targets down range during qualification at the M-240B range 6 July.  The range was part of a series of training exercises preparing Soldiers for a motorized gunnery scheduled later this month. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th CA BDE Public Affairs)

  •  

    Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    ROUND ROCK, Texas – As flags waved in the blue sky, the sound of band music, and enough sweets to solve any sweet tooth, where else could you imagine celebrating our nation’s birthday?  Members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade took part in such an event as they strengthened their partnership with the city of Round Rock by marching in their July 4th parade in conjunction with Round Rock’s Annual Frontier Days celebration.

    From boots on the ground, waving from the back of a colorful parade float and cruising inside the military Humvee, the members of the 85th CA Bde. came prepared to give the crowd their best.

    “I can't tell you the pride that wells up inside and makes you feel good about what you do after seeing the reaction from the crowd,” said 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Mark E. Berry. "You don't see any better support and love for this nation than you will see in Central Texas."

    For others, it was a chance to meet an idol.

    “Army men!” exclaimed Tommy Hernandez, age 6. “The Army men are my favorite! It is what I want to be when I grow up.”

    Young and old alike, all were thankful to the men and women in uniform.

    “It’s really great,” said Michelle Williams, Round Rock resident. “I think it’s great that the Soldiers came out today and that we could show them how much we really appreciate what they do for our country.”

    “I’m just glad we could do something like this to give back to the community,” Staff Sgt. Kimber De La Rosa said. “Being able to see how they welcoming they are to us really hits home on a day like this, especially with how hot it has been recently.”

    Despite the heat, thousands lined up along main street to see the more than 125 parade entries that encompassed the event which kicked off the day’s celebration that could only be concluded with a spectacular fireworks display.  Such a display was looked forward to by many as last year’s planned fireworks were cancelled due to the drought and fire danger.

    "Thank you so much for being out here," said Craig Bushon, parade host and local radio host. "Having you guys in the parade really means a lot.

    The event was just one of many that the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade has done with their partnered city with many more events planned for the future.

               -30-

    Spc. Rafael Lopez spends time with his family during the July 4th festivities at the Frontier Days celebration in Round Rock, Texas. The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade was invited by the city of Round Rock to participate in the parade. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th CA PAO) 

    Spc. Rafael Lopez spends time with his family during the July 4th festivities at the Frontier Days celebration in Round Rock, Texas. The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade was invited by the city of Round Rock to participate in the parade. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th CA PAO)

     Staff Sgt. Kimber De La Rosa, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, is interviewed by parade host and radio personality Craig Bushon during the Sertoma July 4th parade held at Round Rock, Texas. The brigade was invited by the city to participate in the parade as part of the Frontier Days celebration. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th CA PAO)

    Staff Sgt. Kimber De La Rosa, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, is interviewed by parade host and radio personality Craig Bushon during the Sertoma July 4th parade held at Round Rock, Texas. The brigade was invited by the city to participate in the parade as part of the Frontier Days celebration. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th CA PAO)

     Members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade participated in the Sertoma July 4th parade held at Round Rock, Texas. The brigade was invited by the city to participate in the parade as part of the Frontier Days celebration. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th CA PAO)

    Members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade participated in the Sertoma July 4th parade held at Round Rock, Texas. The brigade was invited by the city to participate in the parade as part of the Frontier Days celebration. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th CA PAO)

     

  •  

    Article and photos by SSG David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     KILLEEN, Texas –  ­­Being 100 percent in compliance. Not just a phrase but a goal and members of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade achieved such a goal during the brigade’s first Environmental Compliance inspection since their activation in September last year.

    “Being able to hit 100 percent on our first inspection was a huge accomplishment for us being that we are a newly activated unit on Fort Hood,” said Maj. Kara Escajeda, Environmental Science and Engineering Officer for the 85th CA Brigade. “This is not something that could have been done overnight.”

    The driving force for the unit’s accomplishment was the assistance and support from the Fort Hood Environmental Compliance Assessment Team.  They are the subject matter experts that provide technical assistance to all units and activities located on Fort Hood in all areas related to environmental management and compliance.

    Some of the areas that the inspection concentrated on were proper storage and labeling of hazardous materials, segregation of petroleum, oils and lubricants (POLs), storage and disposal of batteries and the necessary paperwork.  All of that was derived by a plan and a starting point.  Step one was finding out what equipment was needed, what was readily available and what needed to be ordered and put into place.

    For areas such as the motor pool, that also meant consolidation.

    “Much of what I did was reorganize areas such as the UPRPs (Used Product Reclamation Points) to make them better suited for the Soldiers,” said Sgt. Matthew Wilson. “Keeping everything easily accessible went a long way to prevent any possible spills from transporting items across the motor pool and also stopped any cross contamination.”

    Old and new alike, both areas required a process.

    “I also ended up separating all of the new fluids and supplies to not only keep them organized but to ensure that they were accounted for, properly labeled and Soldiers had the correct MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for any product they might come in contact with,” Wilson said. “A lengthy and tedious process but it was part of the requirements.”

    Although the physical aspects of the compliance seemed complicated, so too was the mental aspect and making sure everyone had the proper mindset to change their habits.

    “I found that it was best to make sure that the Soldiers were involved in the process so that they had a better understanding of what I was doing and why,” said Wilson. “That way they will have a vested interest in the process and will help develop a habit of doing it the right way.”

    Doing it correctly involves much more than just common sense as it takes a coordinated effort to make sure that federal, state and local laws and regulations are followed.

    “Ask questions,” said Wilson.  “Make sure you ask plenty of questions in regards to anything that you think you know, don’t know or think you don’t know.  Also have the ECAT team do a few walk throughs around your area before the actual inspection event to make sure everyone is on the same page as to what will happen.”

    Now that they have set the standard it is up to the members of the 85th CA Brigade to make sure that 100 percent is maintained in subsequent inspections and becomes a positive example for other units across Fort Hood.

    -30-

     120613-A-HF471-001

    120613-A-HF471-001
    Sgt. Matthew Wilson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, inspects a supply locker at the motor pool to make sure everything is in order. Sgt. Wilson serves as the brigades Environmental Compliance Office Sergeant and helped achieve a perfect rating during the first environmental compliance assessment since the brigade’s activation in September of last year. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th CA PAO)

  • Article by and photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     FORT HOOD–On a mission in Afghanistan, a unit slowly progresses along the mountainous terrain, eventually coming across a small village nestled in a fertile valley.  The unit commander has specific guidance to engage in conversations with village leaders, map the area, local capabilities and gauge the influences which affect the populous. Trained in mapping the human terrain, a team of Civil Affairs Soldiers has the daunting task to fulfill these critical requirements that will be used later to answer the commanders critical information requirements. 

                 More than 10 Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade took part in the first ever Civil Information Management class on post from April 23- May 4.  Utilizing a classroom environment and hands-on field training, including in the Killeen, Copperas Cove and Fort Hood facilities, the class was developed to instruct Soldiers on assessment techniques and how to use the information gathered from those assessments.

                “The overall idea of the class is to better equip civil affairs Soldiers, from the team-level to the battalion.” Said Staff Sgt. Gary Worley, the senior geospatial engineer assigned to 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.

                Understanding how to properly assess services and facilities, such as hospitals and police departments are key skills of the Civil Affairs Team.  The assessments are completed to understand the civil capabilities required for a particular village or a city within an austere environment.

                “Assessments are the start point of all Civil Affairs actions,” Said Master Sgt. Paul Lapointe, the Civil Military Operations Center NCOIC assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. “When civil affairs Soldiers enter a village, they are assessing the area and civil capabilities inside and out.”

                Prior to entering particular areas, commanders need to know cultural, social and religious customs so as to understand what they can and cannot do.  Mapping human terrain, as well as civil service capabilities, is a basic skill of a Civil Affairs Team.  The information gathered during these assessments becomes an integral part in understanding the operational environment during the planning of future operations for ground commanders.

                Some of the capabilities considered, in the instance of a clinic, may be how many patients can be served or what types of medical services can be offered.  While at the Greater Killeen Free Clinic, the students learned that most clinic patients are treated for allergies or other common illnesses, whereas Thomas Moore has the ability to conduct minor surgeries, like vasectomies.

                In addition to medical facilities, knowledge of how security facilities like police departments operate and function also plays a role in mapping the local terrain when assessing an area. Representatives of the Copperas Cove Police Department agreed to allow Soldiers to assess and understand the requirements of a police and jailing facility.

                During their assessment, the students learned general operating procedures, ratios of officers to the public, as well as general cost expectations if they were to establish a similar facility.

                In a deployed environment, these capabilities would be considered when building relationships with the community and its leaders. Assessment skills are useful during negotiations as well.

                During key leader engagements, Soldiers may be asked by village leaders to provide a service or product, such as building a new school.  If civil affairs Soldiers lack the knowledge and resources to properly assess the capabilities of available facilities, they may enter into an agreement that is unnecessary or impossible to accomplish.  This shortfall could disrupt fragile relationships, not only of the local area but also have the potential to affect strategic operations.

                Once the assessments are completed, the information is inputted into a new database known as the Civil Affairs Operating System.  Once into the system, it becomes available to any registered user requiring the information to assist in future operations or planning efforts.

                The Civil Affairs Operating System was developed by members of the Civil Affairs branch as a way to share information and synchronize operations on a global scale.

    Maj. Shawn Boyer, the security officer for 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, described the system as a tool to interconnect agencies.

                “The idea is for this system to be a comprehensive repository of information,” Boyer said. “Before, information was gathered, stored, and carried by the civil affairs personnel that gathered the information.”

                “This system allows for that information to be shared and accessed by registered users who need the information; ground commanders and Soldiers alike,” said Boyer.  

                 This interconnection, or synchronization, of information may improve overall performance when US forces or other governmental agencies are asked to act. 

                 Knowing the capability and condition of civil facilities, such as clinics, hospitals, and police departments can increase efficiency and overall mission success.  Information gathered on the ground, when used cooperatively with the information entered into the Civil Affairs Operating System, synchronizes multiple entities working towards the same objective.

     

     Master Sgt. Paul Lapointe, Civil Affairs Mission Operations Center NCO, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, and Capt. Tammy Sloulin, team leader, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, discuss some assessment results at Thomas Moore Clinic on May 1 as Maj. Edgard Rodriguez, the Civil Information Management chief with 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, provides guidance.  The Soldiers were part of a Civil Information Management class that included practical exercises in the assessment of civil facilities. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Master Sgt. Paul Lapointe, Civil Affairs Mission Operations Center NCO, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, and Capt. Tammy Sloulin, team leader, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, discuss some assessment results at Thomas Moore Clinic on May 1 as Maj. Edgard Rodriguez, the Civil Information Management chief with 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, provides guidance.  The Soldiers were part of a Civil Information Management class that included practical exercises in the assessment of civil facilities. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Students Listen

    Soldiers with the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, listen to Staff Sgt. Delane Davis Jr. during an assessment of Thomas Moore Clinic as he explains some capabilities of the clinic.  The Soldiers were taking part in a Civil Information class the week of April 23-May 4. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Free Clinic Director explains

    Greater Killeen Area Clinic executive Director Marlene Dilillo speaks to a group of 81st Civil Affairs Soldiers as they conduct an assessment of the clinic.  The assessment was part of a civil information class the Soldiers were taking part in. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Maj Rodriguez speaks to police

    Maj. Edgard Rodriguez, Civil Information Management chief, discusses aspects of the Copperas Cove Police Department with department personnel during a facility assessment April 26.  The assessment was part of a Civil Information Management class held on post April 23-May 4. (Photo by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

     

     

  • Article by and photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     FORT HOOD–Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade joined a group of riders at III Corps Headquarters April 19 to participate in the 2012 Ride to Recovery.  Beginning in San Antonio, the group is making their way to Arlington, Texas, where the Texas Challenge portion of the ride will conclude.

        One participant, Maj. Andreas Wooten, future operations officer, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, participated in the event in order to challenge himself, as well as show support for the honorary participants.

       “I’ve always enjoyed bicycling and saw this [opportunity] and I really wanted to give something back,” said Wooten.

       More than just a physical challenge, the event is intended to give back to those Soldiers who have sacrificed more than just time.

       “We don’t ever want to forget the sacrifices they’ve made,” said Wooten.”They are all volunteers just like us.  They are still important to our culture and to the Army.”

      The Texas portion of the Ride 2 Recovery is just one of many rides happening throughout the country at varying dates.  Produced by the Fitness Challenge Foundation, in partnership with the Military and Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service Office, the event is focused on providing mental and physical rehabilitative programs for wounded veterans.

    -30-

     Wooten hand shake

    Maj. Andreas Wooten, an operations officer assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, reaches out to shake the hand of a Ride 2 Recovery Participant Thursday, April 19 as they arrived at III Corps Headquarters prior to the start of the day’s ride.  The 65-mile leg of the Texas Challenge was to start on post and conclude in Waco, Texas.  The ride supports rehabilitative programs for physically and mentally wounded veterans from all branches of service.

  • Article by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    Photos by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     FORT HOOD–Amid the rumbling of engines, a group of Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade took part in a motorcycle mentorship ride here March 31.

    According to a Fort Hood policy letter addressing motorcycle safety, the program has been put into place to lessen fatalities and grow experience through leader involvement, training and personal responsibility.

    “Definitely a necessity,”  said Sgt. Maj. Richard Luna, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. “This ride helps Soldiers get used to the area and become familiar with the route, any safety issues and exposure to the actual riding environment.”

    In addition to training and mentorship, these programs often build unit cohesion and camaraderie. 

    “I’ve been riding for 26 years,” said 1st Sgt Charles Losa, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion. “Events like this help build unit cohesion and teaches people how to ride safe.”

    As a new rider, Sgt. Nathan Hanna, a communications NCO with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, understands the importance of programs like this.

    “I’ve been riding for about five months now,” Hanna said. “I’m taking part in this ride to make sure I’m riding ok  and to learn more from the other riders.”

    Final Safety Brief

    Riders taking part in a motorcycle safety ride March 31 discuss the route and safety considerations prior to heading out on the ride.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Brigade)

    Safety Check

    Sgt. Maj. Dennis S. Guthrie conducts a last minute check prior to the motorcycle ride March 31.  The ride was part of the motor cycle safety program to ensure leaders get involved and fill a mentorship role for other riders within the unit. (Photo by Staff Sgt. David House, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     WHITE SANDS MISSILE RANGE, New Mexico – Six members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade ‘Tribal Endurance’ Bataan Death March Team participated in the 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March held March 25 at the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

                “It was a humbling experience being able to come out here to endure just a fraction of what the survivors had to go through,” said Sgt. 1st Class Gerardo Lora, a civil affairs team sergeant and ‘Tribal Endurance’ member assigned to B Co., 81st CA Bn., 85th CA Bde. “I was in a lot of pain during the last part of the event, but I kept thinking to myself that it was nothing compared to what the actual death march must have been like.”

                  The 26.2-mile ruck march is held each year to remember the fallen heroes that died during the forcible transfer of more than 70,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war by the Imperial Japanese Army during WW II. The year 2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the actual death march.

                   The memorial event is the largest ever – drawing more than 7,000 participants with an additional 1,200 supporting volunteers. Marchers and runners from all over the world, some coming from as far away as Germany, descended upon New Mexico to compete. With soft sand and rolling hills in desert terrain, the event is considered one of the most challenging marathon-length courses in the nation.

                   “The hardest part was going through the sand dunes,” said Lora. “Every step I took felt like I was sinking deeper and deeper in the ground,” he said.

                    The ‘Tribal Endurance’ team officially placed third overall in the military male heavy team division with each member carrying a rucksack weighing at least 35lbs. To meet the weight requirement, members of ‘Tribal Endurance’ packed their rucksacks with bags of rice, which were later donated to local charities after the event. The ‘Tribal Endurance’ team is also officially the highest placing male heavy division team based out of Fort Hood.

                     “Throughout training, our main focus was to push ourselves to the limit,” said Capt. Brian Garver, a civil affairs team leader and ‘Tribal Endurance’ team member assigned to B Co., 81st CA Bn., 85th CA Bde. “When we found out we placed in the top three we were a little surprised – but it goes to show how far you can drive yourself to do things you didn’t think you were capable of.”

                       To help prepare for the event, team members incorporated weight training, distance-running, cycling, and countless laps at the pool. To alleviate sore muscles, members of the team ensured to take regular ice baths after a hard workout. The hardest challenge for ‘Tribal Endurance’ was making sure the team could go the distance while carrying the prescribed weight. The team members worked their way up to the 26.2-mile distance using rucksacks weighing more than 60 lbs.

                       “We started at shorter 6-mile and 15-mile distances using heavier rucks,” said Garver. “After getting used to a heavier load, the 35lbs. standard for the event seemed a whole lot easier,” he said.

                        Participants of the event received a chance to talk to survivors of the Bataan Death March before they competed. The participants listened as survivors told of the horrors they lived through.

                        “I’ve seen and done thing during the march that you wouldn’t believe,” said Staff Sgt. (Ret) Leonard L. Robinson, 92, a survivor of the actual death march in 1942. “It was literally hell - I saw many good people die in front of me, but I try not hold any grudges,” he said.

                         After the event, participants were provided with free food, water, and medical care. A closing ceremony was also held to pay one last tribute to veterans of foreign wars as well as those currently deployed overseas.

                          “Lets not forget that there are tens of thousands of our Servicemembers who are deployed around the globe in places such as Afghanistan,” said Brig. Gen. John G. Ferrari, the commanding general of White Sands Missile Range. “Keep them in mind as we honor these veterans today,” he said.  

     20120327-A-RE761-001: The official scales of the 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March are displayed March 23 outside of the Community Center located on White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. For the military heavy team division, each team member must complete the 26.2-mile course in uniform while wearing a 35lbs rucksack. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20120327-A-RE761-001: The official scales of the 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March are displayed March 23 outside of the Community Center located on White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. For the military heavy team division, each team member must complete the 26.2-mile course in uniform while wearing a 35lbs rucksack. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20120327-A-RE761-007: Capt. Aaron K. Smith, a member of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade ‘Tribal Endurance’ Team leads the way at mile 17 during the 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March held March 25 at the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The ‘Tribal Endurance’ team officially placed third overall in the military male heavy team division with each member carrying a rucksack weighing at least 35lbs. The ‘Tribal Endurance’ team is also officially the highest placing male heavy division team based out of Fort Hood. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20120327-A-RE761-007: Capt.Aaron K. Smith, a member of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade ‘Tribal Endurance’ Team leads the way at mile 17 during the 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March held March 25 at the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The ‘Tribal Endurance’ team officially placed third overall in the military male heavy team division with each member carrying a rucksack weighing at least 35lbs. The ‘Tribal Endurance’ team is also officially the highest placing male heavy division team based out of Fort Hood. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

    20120327-A-RE761-010: Members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion ‘Tribal Endurance’ Bataan Death March Team prepare to cross the finish line of the 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March held March 25 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The 26.2-mile march is held each year to commemorate the forcible transfer of more than 70,000 Filipino and American civilians and Soldiers over an 80-mile distance by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. This year’s event was the largest ever – with more than 7,000 participants. The team officially placed third overall in the military male heavy team division with each member carrying a rucksack weighing at least 35lbs. The team is also officially the highest placing male heavy division team based out of Fort Hood. From left to right, the team members are: Capt. Alex Perotti, Capt. Brian Garver, Sgt. 1st Class Gerardo Lora, Capt. Aaron K. Smith, Staff Sgt. Jose M. Ledee, and Capt. Michael Jones. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20120327-A-RE761-010:members of the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion ‘Tribal Endurance’ Bataan Death March Team prepare to cross the finish line of the 23rd Annual Bataan Memorial Death March held March 25 at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. The 26.2-mile march is held each year to commemorate the forcible transfer of more than 70,000 Filipino and American civilians and Soldiers over an 80-mile distance by the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. This year’s event was the largest ever – with more than 7,000 participants. The team officially placed third overall in the military male heavy team division with each member carrying a rucksack weighing at least 35lbs. The team is also officially the highest placing male heavy division team based out of Fort Hood. From left to right, the team members are: Capt. Alex Perotti, Capt. Brian Garver, Sgt. 1st Class Gerardo Lora, Capt. Aaron K. Smith, Staff Sgt. Jose M. Ledee, and Capt. Michael Jones. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas – Most military families are met with the ordinary challenges of everyday civilian families.  When you add in deployments and changing installations, you’ve got a situation that most spouses would call challenging.  Some spouses, however, thrive under this type of pressure. 

                One such Fort Hood-based spouse has taken this challenge ‘by the horns’ as she established two successful businesses, written a book about military moves, contributed to the community and actively reaches out to support the community of Killeen to assist other small business owners all while raising two children and managing a house and land with her Soldier husband.
                Sandee Payne, wife of Lt. Col. Michael Payne, executive officer of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, takes her success modestly and attributes her ability to accomplish so much to time management and professional independence.

                “It’s time management,” Payne said. “The reason I started my own business was it made it flexible for me-I wasn’t tied down by a boss or a schedule.”

                Payne, however, does not settle with individual success.  As a military spouse, she recognized and experienced the difficulties of military life first hand and wanted to share some of her experiences and design expertise with other families, while providing new families the opportunity for a quality product at an affordable price.

                “When we got here and we knew we were going to stay, I just wanted to own my own business and help families in their homes,” Payne said. “People are moving a lot so it’s a good avenue for people to off load some things or new military couples that have just bought their first homes but don’t have the budget to buy everything new- it gives them the chance to have nicer things on a 50 percent-off type concept.”

                 Having settled for an extended period of time, Payne saw an opportunity to share her experience that she gathered from seven previous moves, so she began writing a blog.  Over time her writings were compiled into a book entitled “That Military House: Move it, Organize it & Decorate it.” In her book, Payne provides hints and tips to other families to make their moves a little easier. Payne is also asked to write for USAA Federal Savings Bank from time to time as a consultant for her money-wise techniques for military families..

                 Aside from running two store fronts, writing books and managing family life, Payne speaks to local groups of interested small business owners and prospective owners alike.  Recently, Payne was asked by the Killeen Business Resource Center to share her experience and knowledge with promoting business using social media.

                 With an audience of budding entrepreneurs, seasoned business owners and even Fort Hood Soldiers, Payne highlighted the need to keep things fresh and interesting so as to avoid stagnation as a business.

                “The reason I get into social media is because the demographic is always changing,” said Payne. “You have to make sure you don’t get stale, or settled.”

                 Whether she is working in the design studio, writing a book or supporting her family, Sandee Payne is guaranteed to stay busy- not just with social media but in all aspects of her day to day life.

     -30-

    At Buy the Hour

    Sandee Payne sits in her design studio of Buy the Hour in Harker Heights.Recognizing an opportunity, Payne established the interior design business five years ago when she and her Army husband arrived to the Killeen area.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Social media breakfast presentation

    Fort Hood Soldiers listen as Sandee Payne briefs a small audience on the usefulness and capabilities of a relatively new social media forum, Pintrest, during a monthly social media breakfast March 6.  Members of the Killen Business Resource center invited Payne to speak on the subject, citing her experience and use of the site to promote her business.  (Photo by Army Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Helping the 3rd cavalry Regiment ladies

    Sandee Payne provides instructions on how to create fabric flowers to a group of 3rd Cavalry Regiment wives during the group’s scheduled coffee meeting.  Payne offers her design studio as a space where groups of military spouses can get together and discuss the goings on within the unit while also learning a few simple design tips. (Photo by Staff Sgt Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

  • Article and Photos by Maj. Bryan D. Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Some might say that the best place to get an education is down on the farm. Well, 10 Soldiers from the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade saw the benefits of their education March 2, at the Texas A&M Campus.

                 Medically trained Soldiers are attending the six-week Civil Affairs Medical Sergeant’s Course, hosted by the Fort Sam Houston Army Medical Department Center and School, and the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at Texas A&M. The course is intended to train Soldiers to become a senior medic for a four-man team civil affairs team in order to support global civil affairs missions.

                “This training course is critical to our Civil Affairs missions as most of our personnel are medical personnel,” said Lt. Col. David Sculli, the 85th CA Bde. operations officer. “We have an average of 25% of our unit made up of medical personnel expected to provide professional veterinarian advice to farmers concerning the health and well being of their animals in austere environments such as areas in South America and Africa.”

                Some of the Soldiers that have never been on a farm were able to have full day of hands-on training with a variety of large to small-scale livestock ranging from: cattle, equines, goats, poultry, and swine.  This is to ensure they receive a full well-rounded exposure to the wide variety of animals they might see during a routine civil affairs mission.

                “These Soldiers are here for 5 to 6 weeks going through a program involving extensive preventive medicine, food hygiene, veterinarian care, and finally a week of dentistry,” said Lt Col. Cheryl Sofaly, the Chief of the Animal Branch, Army Medical Department Center and School.  “This department at the university provides the hands on training with the large animals that we cannot provide on Fort Sam Houston,” said Sofaly

    The animals residing on the premises are managed under the Independent Protection Rehabilitation Program, which is a Department of Defense program that provides animals for students as training aides.

                This course is not for the faint at heart.  Soldiers are shown in detail, the common diseases senior medics will observe in the field. They are also taught the proper handling of animals from the field, to slaughter, and finally to the dinner table.

                “We show the students common diseases such as aeronautic and zoological importance when it comes to the health of humans,” said Sofaly. “Depending on where they are working, they could be asked to perform disease management control - we discuss with them some of the things they will need to consider when managing this program.”       

                By the end of the food hygiene phase, Soldiers will take a tour of a slaughter facility with a Department of Agriculture health inspector. They will review the proper management of the animal selection process, the sanitary requirements, and finally physically observe a slaughter take place.

                “We also teach them proper management of animal slaughters, as this will be commonly exposed to in the field,” said Sofaly.

                Friday’s demonstration provided the Soldiers with only an exposure and awareness to the veterinarian field.           

                “Our job is to educate future vets to perform globally in order to properly advise villagers on the health of their animals,” said Dr. Clay Ashley, an instructor with the Veterinarian Medical Park.

                “Do not ever try to pretend that you know more information about the animals than the local villagers,” said Ashley.

                The 85th CA Bde. is headquartered on Fort Hood, Texas. It is an active duty brigade with one activated civil affairs battalion. The brigade is in the process of standing up four more civil affair battalions with two activating later this year. The other battalions are slated to activate in 2013. 

    Spc. Tia French draws a blood sample from a heifer while being properly restrained.  Spc. French and nine other medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs) 

    Spc. Tia French draws a blood sample from a heifer while being properly restrained.  Spc. French and nine other medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     Sgt 1st Class Deontae Karron learns the proper method of trimming a goats hoofs while Sgt. 1st Class Eddie Cisneros properly restrains the goat during this delicate process. During this process a vet must be able to inspect the hoofs for common diseases and bacteria that routinely grows that will result is serious health concerns later down the road for the animal.   Spc. and Spc are two of ten other medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade who are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Sgt 1st Class Deontae Karron learns the proper method of trimming a goats hoofs while Sgt. 1st Class Eddie Cisneros properly restrains the goat during this delicate process. During this process a vet must be able to inspect the hoofs for common diseases and bacteria that routinely grows that will result is serious health concerns later down the road for the animal.   Spc. and Spc are two of ten other medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade who are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Pvt. 1st Class Christopher Orange gently restrains a young pig while Pvt. 1st Class Victoria Lett draws blood during an exercise Friday Mar 2. Soldiers practice the importance of physical exams, proper restraining practices. animal hygiene, and veterinarian care  Medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. These animals used are managed under the Independent Protection Rehabilitation Program, which is a Department of Defense managed program used to provide animals for students as training aides. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs) 

    Pvt. 1st Class Christopher Orange gently restrains a young pig while Pvt. 1st Class Victoria Lett draws blood during an exercise Friday Mar 2. Soldiers practice the importance of physical exams, proper restraining practices. animal hygiene, and veterinarian care  Medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. These animals used are managed under the Independent Protection Rehabilitation Program, which is a Department of Defense managed program used to provide animals for students as training aides. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Soldiers practice the importance of physical exams, proper restraining practices, animal hygiene, and veterinarian care  Medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. These animals used are managed under the Independent Protection Rehabilitation Program, which is a Department of Defense managed program used to provide animals for students as training aides. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs) 

    Soldiers practice the importance of physical exams, proper restraining practices, animal hygiene, and veterinarian care  Medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. These animals used are managed under the Independent Protection Rehabilitation Program, which is a Department of Defense managed program used to provide animals for students as training aides. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Sgt. 1st Class Nikisha Thornhill provides a goat with a manicure during the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants course.  Ten Medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. These animals used are managed under the Independent Protection Rehabilitation Program, which is a Department of Defense managed program used to provide animals for students as training aides. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Sgt. 1st Class Nikisha Thornhill provides a goat with a manicure during the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants course.  Ten Medically trained Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade are participating in the Civil Affairs Medical Sergeants Course held at the Veterinarian Medical Park Department at the Texas A&M University. These animals used are managed under the Independent Protection Rehabilitation Program, which is a Department of Defense managed program used to provide animals for students as training aides. The university partners with the U.S. Army Medical Center and School at Fort Sam Houston to provide critical Civil Affairs training for these future senior medics assigned to 4 person civil affair teams.  After completion from the course, they will be expected to perform a wide variety of duties from food hygiene to vet care, and dentistry within austere environments while. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    LAMPASAS, Texas – Eleven single Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade participated in a Strong Bonds single Soldier retreat held March 1 – 3 at Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center in Lampasas, TX.

                Strong Bonds is an Army-wide program that was initially started to help married couples and families deal with the unique difficulties that an Army-lifestyle entails. Units within the Army have revamped the program to focus on helping single Soldiers make the right choices in life through the teachings of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Successful People”.

                “Events such as the Strong Bonds program helps build resiliency in our Soldiers while teaching them productive life skills,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Bradley C. Godding, chaplain of 85th CA Bde. “This gives them the opportunity to focus on where they are at and how they can impart moral and healthy changes in their lives for the better.”

    In addition to resiliency training, retreat participants also had a chance to communicate with horses through Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Activities techniques. By interacting with horses as a catalyst for personal introspection and growth, the Soldiers gained a deeper awareness of who they are and how they fit into the bigger Army picture.

                “The equine program is something we facilitated with Army chaplains to help Soldiers from Fort Hood get a chance to come here and experience the calming effects horses seem to have on people,” said Joanna Tyson, an equine specialist and assistant director of Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center. “I wanted to share this experience with others – the raw power that horses represent has the potential to change people for the better when harnessed correctly.

                 The participants engaged in informal, open-ended classroom discussions before taking part in a “catch and halter” where students attempted to sooth a horse enough to secure a halter around its neck.

                 “The experience was cool because horses are a lot like people – they have the same kind of quirks and personalities as humans,” said Spc. Stephen L. Viosin, a human resources specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th CA Bde. “Horses often like to be around their peers, but are open to accepting new friends once they get to know each other – I can relate because I’m new to the unit and am experiencing the same thing.”

    -30-

     

    Joanna Tyson, an equine specialist, shares a glass of water with her friend “PJ” during a single Soldier retreat held March 1-3 at Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center in Lampasas, TX. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Joanna Tyson, an equine specialist, shares a glass of water with her friend “PJ” during a single Soldier retreat held March 1-3 at Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center in Lampasas, TX. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

     

     

     

    Spc. Chauncey Luckett, a supply specialist assigned to B Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade tends to his recently haltered horse “Diamond” during a Strong Bonds single soldier retreat held March 1-3 at Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center in Lampasas, TX.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Spc. Chauncey Luckett, a supply specialist assigned to B Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade tends to his recently haltered horse “Diamond” during a Strong Bonds single soldier retreat held March 1-3 at Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center in Lampasas, TX. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

    Pfc. James Love (foreground), a radio operator and maintainer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, feeds his newly harnessed horse an apple while Pfc. Isaac Hughes, a chaplain assistant assigned to HHC, 81st CA BN, 85th CA Bde., attempts to harness his own horse during a Strong Bonds single Soldier retreat held March 1-3 at Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center in Lampasas, TX. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    Pfc. James Love (foreground), a radio operator and maintainer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, feeds his newly harnessed horse an apple while Pfc. Isaac Hughes, a chaplain assistant assigned to HHC, 81st CA BN, 85th CA Bde., attempts to harness his own horse during a Strong Bonds single Soldier retreat held March 1-3 at Tyson’s Corner Retreat and Wellness Center in Lampasas, TX. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    FORT HOOD, Texas – More than 20 Soldiers assigned to the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade participated in the 2012 Austin Marathon and Half-Marathon Sunday Feb. 19 along with more than 18,000 other participants.

                The Soldiers were part of the ‘Tribal Endurance’ team the battalion formed in order to train and prepare for the 26.2-mile run.  Maj. Mark Chandler, a planning officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, was the driving force behind the formation of the team.

    “I think Soldiers just want to better themselves in general,” said Chandler  “When Soldiers have an opportunity to try something new, you’ll see most of the time they step up to the plate - Soldiers will surprise you,” said Chandler.  

                For about six months, the team trained during Physical Training hours, as well as their personal time to complete the physical and mental challenges posed by the 26.2-mile obstacle. 

                “This is definitely something you need to train for,” said Staff Sgt. Carlo Ungo-Martinez, a civil affairs team sergeant assigned to the battalion. “At mile 18 I hit the wall; training can get you past that.”

                Completing the marathon in just over 3 hours and 30 minutes, Ungo-Martinez looks to another opportunity to qualify for the Boston Marathon, as his time was just shy of qualification.

                “You never know what 26 miles feels like until you run it, so you have to train,” Ungo-Martinez said. “I guess I underestimated that.”

                Spc. Kelly Stafford, a civil affairs team medic and ‘tribal Endurance’ team member, looked to tackle the challenge of the half-marathon for her infant daughter.

                “I want to be a positive role model for my daughter,” said Stafford. “I remember when I was in high school and running cross country and my mother decided to run her first marathon because of me, so I want to do the same for my daughter.”

                Completing the half-marathon, Stafford accomplished her goal and said she will continue to challenge herself.  While she and others on the team were beginning or improving upon their skills, this contest would be the capstone of their marathon career for others.

                “This will be my last marathon,” said Staff Sgt. Aboubacar Sissohko, a civil affairs team sergeant assigned to Bravo Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion. “Marathons take a lot of training and I’m 38 years old; I can still do it, but if I can’t get the times I’m looking for, I’ll stop doing marathons.”

                Accustom to completing and competing with times in the range of 2 hours and 25 minutes in past contests, the Senegal, Africa native said that he just cannot invest the time and commitment it takes to accomplish these times.

                “I’ll continue to run 5K and 10K runs in Austin when they are available,” said Sissohko. ”But this is my last marathon.”

                Some chapters were closed and new paths forged.  The team as a whole will continue to strive for excellence, or at least seek out the next test of mind and body. The first of such challenges will be met as the team expects to participate in the Bataan Death march scheduled for March 26 in White Sands, New Mexico, as well as an Austin-based triathlon in May.

     

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    Spc. Kelly Stafford and Spc. Andrew Ross, both assigned to 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, talk as they stretch and prepare for the 2012 Austin marathon and half marathon Sunday Feb. 19.  The two were part of the newly created ‘Tribal Endurance’ team. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Spc. Kelly Stafford looks to the finish line near the end of the half marathon during the 2012 Austin marathon and half marathon Sunday Feb. 19.  (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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    Staff Sgt. Aboubacar  Sissokho of Bravo Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, makes the last turn at the 2012 Austin Marathon Sunday Feb.19.  For Sissokho this would mark his 20th and final race. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders, 85ht Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    FORT HOOD, Texas – A team consisting of six Soldiers assigned to the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade competed in the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Championship preliminaries held Feb. 13-16 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base.

    The “Warrior Diplomats” participated in a round-robin style event that tested the limits of their ground fighting and grappling abilities. With only a few weeks to prepare for the event, the team members endured the trials and tribulations of competitive fighting while learning that there are some things more important than winning.

    “In order to prepare for an event like this, we had to spend countless amount of hours training early in the morning at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center on base,” said Spc. Kyle B. Reemts, a radio and telephone operator assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th CA Bde. “The hardest aspect of it is just getting through all of the aches and pains of physical training – once you get past that part, it’s just a matter of asking yourself: “How far do you want to go?””  

    In addition to physical conditioning, the team members also had to hone their mental skills to help them face the challenges of hand-to-hand combat.

    “I’m new to the sport, but I quickly learned that a lot of MMA fighting is a mind game,” said Staff Sgt. Carlos O. Padilla, a civil affairs noncommissioned officer assigned to HHC, 85th CA Bde. “You have to always have a positive outlook; you have to try to keep yourself motivated; otherwise your fight is over before it begins.”

    Most of the team members had little or no mixed-martial arts experience going into the event. It was their lack of time on the mat that proved to be their down fall. Each member of the team was defeated by more seasoned fighters as the event progressed. Although the team did not win the tournament, it was the time spent with each other that made the experience worthwhile.

    “At the beginning of our training, I really didn’t know any of the other members,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan D. Galindo, a civil affairs team sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th CA Bde. “We grew closer and learned more about each other – the camaraderie that we built will help in the daily work environment; we’ve already been through some tough times together so we know we can count on each other in the future.”

    Mixed martial arts continue to grow as a sport and Army combatives has become a normal part of a Soldiers training regimen. Fort Hood has become a hotbed for MMA action, winning the last two All-Army combatives competitions. During the opening ceremony of the 2012 preliminary matches, Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., commander of III Corps and Fort Hood said that Army combatives exemplifies both the Warrior Ethos as well as the Army values. “You are all here to represent your units; you are all fighting to represent Fort Hood so we can be the three-time all Army champion in July,” he said.

    The final matchups for the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Tournament are scheduled for Thursday, starting at 6 p.m. at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base.

    -30-

    20120213-A-RE761-002: Soldiers receive a safety brief before the start of the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Championship preliminaries Feb. 13 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    20120213-A-RE761-002: Soldiers receive a safety brief before the start of the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Championship preliminaries Feb. 13 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20120213-A-RE761-003: Staff Sgt. Carlos O. Padilla, a civil affairs noncommissioned officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade attempts to apply a choke hold on his opponent during the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Championship preliminaries Feb. 13 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    20120213-A-RE761-003: Staff Sgt. Carlos O. Padilla, a civil affairs noncommissioned officer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade attempts to apply a choke hold on his opponent during the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Championship preliminaries Feb. 13 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

    20120214-A-RE761-001: Sgt. 1st Class Jonathon D. Galindo (top), a civil affairs team sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, attempts to apply a choke hold on Sgt. Timothy M. Hardy, a Soldier assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, during the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Championship preliminaries Feb. 14 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

     

     

     

     

     

     

    20120214-A-RE761-001: Sgt. 1st Class Jonathon D. Galindo (top), a civil affairs team sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, attempts to apply a choke hold on Sgt. Timothy M. Hardy, a Soldier assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 5th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, during the 2012 Fort Hood Combatives Championship preliminaries Feb. 14 at the Abrams Physical Fitness Center on base. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs)

  • Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs


    KILLEEN, Texas – You’re at your favorite restaurant with some friends and suddenly a 20120209-A-RE761-010man at the neighboring table grips at his chest. His frantic motions indicate that he’s in the throes
    of a cardiac arrest. Do you know what to do in this situation? Some of the high school juniors and seniors from the Career and Technical Education Campus certainly do. 
                   Civil Affairs medics assigned to the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, taught more than 30 health science students on proper cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques Feb. 9 at the CATE located in Killeen.
                 “We taught students three different iterations of CPR today,” said Spc. Askia G. Whitaker, a civil affairs medical specialist assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters
    20120209-A-RE761-030Company, 81st CA Bn, 85th CA Bde. “Since each age group requires a different set of procedures, we taught classes on infant, child, and adult CPR techniques as well as how to properly maintain and operate an automated defibrillator.”
                CATE is an adopted school with the 85th CA Bde and is part of the Killeen Independent
    School District. Civil affairs medics provide professional training to the students using practical classroom instruction, hands-on demonstrations, instructor led dialogues, and procedural testing exams using realistic training dummies.
                 “It’s nice to see the Soldiers from the base come out here to help out with the training today,” said Aaron J. Whitaker, 17, a CATE junior enrolled in the Principles of Health Science program. “The class provided me with the skills to administer first assistance CPR if someone goes into cardiac arrest.”  After the classroom instruction, the students were tested on the techniques and procedures they learned throughout the day. Those that passed the exam were certified in CPR as per the standards of the American Heart Association.
                “The training today is critical to their learning as many of these students will be
    moving on to the upper-level courses such as becoming a nurse aid or an emergency medical technician,” said Dynisha Woods, a registered nurse and health science teacher at the CATE. “It was really nice for the troops to come out and assist in furthering the education of these students – it was a real community effort to get these young people trained and I think that’s
    phenomenal.”

  • Story and photos by Staff Sgt. gregory Sanders, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

    KILLEEN, Texas - Fort Hood and Killeen high school-aged students will soon have more education options next year as the Career and Technical Education center of Killeen Independent School District is scheduled to open a new facility in August.

    Career and Technical Education campus            “[The new facility] gives us the opportunity to work with a large population of students whose interests are not purely academic - Kids that want to create, that want to work with their hands,” said Rodney Hudson, KISD-TV manager and CATE instructor.

                The more than 140,000 square-foot facility will be capable of sustaining an expected increase of students and all the courses offered by the technical school on one campus.  While two campuses currently serve over 400 students, the new facility is expected to meet the educational needs of more than 1,000 students.

                “We are taking the district resources and putting it together for a shared time,” said Debbie Thompson, executive director of Career and technical Education. “Rather than trying to duplicate those facilities and program equipment at each [high school] campus, we will have a central place they will come primarily for the last two years.”

                From horticulture and agriculture to game-design and health sciences, the approximately $20 million site will provide multiple education paths for prospective students through advanced teaching aides and professionally qualified instructors.

                “Usually we are working within our field and then happen upon the opportunity to teach,” Hudson said.  Ruth_and_Thompson“Most of the instructors here are professionals within their fields with advanced certifications or degrees.”

    The career center requires at least 4 years’ experience within the field of their expertise prior to an instructor’s employment. In addition to an experienced and enthusiastic Audio /Visual Technology instructor, the automotive, health science and welding instructors all have certified experience within their respective fields.

                Preparing students for the real world is the ultimate goal of the school staff.  While many certifications can be earned attending the career center, getting the students to graduate is a primary concern. 

    “It’s about the kids,” said Hudson. ”It’s always got to be about the kids.”

    Even though students can expect to earn certifications in nursing, beautification or another field of their choosing, graduation is the primary focus of school staff.

                D_Woods_CTE“Sure the students can get certified while they are here,” Thompson said. “But they have to get their diploma and that is our main goal – to get these guys prepared for the real world.”  

                Additionally, the career center is partnered with businesses in each area of study.  As part of an advisory partnership, organizations and business like Scott & White, CISCO and L3 Communications, offer real-world input into the curriculum that provides students an employment edge by communicating the skills businesses want in their workforce.

                “It does no good for us to operate in isolation,” said Thompson.  “What we’ve got to do is replicate the workplace as closely as possible.”

                The options offered to graduating students make the career center the ideal choice for prospective students.  With industry certifications and college credits earned, graduates are more marketable and profitable far beyond high school and create more career choices for themselves.

                “It gives your child more options on their future,” said Hudson.” If a student wants to be a welder, they can come out of here with an industry certification and go to work for another welder while he’s going to college learning to be a master welder. That only makes him that much more valuable.”

  • JHOC_20120201-A-RE761-015.jpgArticle and Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     FORT HOOD, Texas – The earthquake that hit Japan in March 2011 and the subsequent U.S. rescue efforts that followed were a chilling lesson in humanitarian aid management. With so many different organizations involved, how do all of the agencies stay synchronized?

    Soldiers from the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, learned how their own unit fits into the “bigger humanitarian aid picture” by hosting a Joint Humanitarian Operations Course at the Battle Simulation Center on base from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1.

    The course was taught by members of the United States Agency for International Development. The USAID is one of the leading agencies that helps organize U.S. response to disasters around the world. The organization acts as a synchronization point between various government, military, and civilian departments by concentrating relief efforts and maximizing logistic capabilities.

    “We are acting as liaisons that advise on humanitarian issues based on what the civilian side of the U.S. government is doing, what non-governmental organizations are doing, and how they best work together,” said Thomas M. Frey, a civil military advisor with the U.S. Agency for International Development Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. “This training is important for civil affairs Soldiers because they are the personnel tasked with providing the face of the U.S. military to the foreign national civilian community.”

    The Joint Humanitarian Operations Course is targeted specifically for military personnel. Members of the 36th Engineer Brigade, and the Texas National Guard were also in attendance.

    JHOC_20120201-A-RE761-012.jpgStudents learned how to strengthen their unit’s ability to work in unison with other departments during humanitarian assistance operations. They took part in interactive presentations, discussion groups, and case study analyses. The course also provided students with a chance to discuss their unit’s role and relationship with the USAID through instructor led lessons and practical classroom exercises.

    “It was eye-opening learning about all the different procedures each agency goes through in order to help out others in a disaster,” said 

    Pvt. 1st Class  Kyle R. Close, a radio operator maintainer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 81st CA BN, 85th CA BDE. “One of the main things I learned was how important communication is to the process; communication is a big part of my job, and without it, nothing gets accomplished in disaster aid.”

    By developing a working knowledge of USAID procedures, members of the civil affairs community are better able to identify their own roles and responsibilities in the spectrum. This fosters an atmosphere that enables partnerships to quickly send out humanitarian aid when needed.

    ”As a civil affairs operator, it’s good to have this information because it helps me understand what they (USAID) bring to the table and how we can maximize our efforts with them,” said Capt. Roberto Rodriguez, the assistance operations officer assigned to HHC, 81st CA BN, 85th CA BDE. “By doing so, we’re able to help the most number of people in humanitarian missions, which is one of the main things civil affairs is all about.”

  • 20120131-A-RE761-010: Pfc. Leah C. Truss, a civil affairs team medic assigned to A Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, pulls security while team members radio in a simulated chemical attack during a situational training exercise at the Boaz Military Operation in an Urban Terrain site on Fort Hood Jan. 31. Article and Photos by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Dator, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs

     FORT HOOD, Texas – As Soldiers dismounted vehicles and establish security Tuesday, team leaders approach a heavily armed facility where three men in Middle Eastern attire armed with weapons stand guard.  These teams are ushered by the guards into a dim illuminated room where town officials await their arrival on a single carpet covering a dirt floor.

    More than 50 “Warrior Diplomats” from A Company, 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, conducted a civil military operations focused situational training exercise consisting of various scenarios at the Boaz Military Operations in Urban Terrain Site here Jan. 31.

    “During the STX Soldiers react to improvised explosive devices, small-arms fire, and conducted training under a simulated chemical environment,” said Capt. Johnny R. Anderson, a civil affairs team leader. “But the main focus of today’s event is on the key leader engagement portion of training because these engagements bridge the gap between the foreign national civilian population and the U.S. military.”

    Civil affairs teams consist of four-Soldier team elements. A standard team will consist of a team leader, team sergeant, civil affairs non-commissioned officer, and a team medic. Their mission is diplomacy.

     “They’re the diplomatic force that enables us to better understand our allies in other countries,” said Col. Leo J. Ruth II, commander, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade.

    KLEAnderson’s team is one of five from A Co. conducting training here at the Military Operations In Urbanized Terrain site. While these training scenarios were not formally evaluated, they were used to assess the effectiveness of civil affairs team standard operating procedures, as well as an opportunity for new teams to work together in a simulated deployed environment.          

     “This sort of training is important for the brigade as a whole and the civil affairs community in general,” said Ruth during an impromptu ride-along with one of the CA teams conducting the training.

    “We’ve got brand new teams that are forming and it puts them in real world scenarios. Essentially, they’re able to practice things on the ground that they wouldn’t have an opportunity to do unless they were in a real world situation,” said Ruth.

  • Story by Army Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders
    85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO

    FORT HOOD, Texas -- Amid the furl and pop of Old Glory, the United States Army recognized the first civil affairs brigade assigned to U.S. Forces Command during a ceremony here Sept. 30 at III Corps Headquarters.

      The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, accompanied by the 81st Civil Affairs Battalion, uncased their colors marking the beginning of a new era for the Army, FORSCOM and Fort Hood.

      “The civil affairs Soldier is a unique and highly valuable force multiplier to all commanders.” Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell, Jr., commander, Fort Hood and III Corps, said during an address.   “The establishment of a second active-duty civil affairs brigade is a testament to your value to our Army and our nation.”

      The brigade will be made up of five regionally aligned battalions throughout the country, each assigned to a major command. The 81st Civil Affairs Battalion will be located here and serve U.S. Southern Command.

        An official assigned to the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade (Airborne) said the addition of the new brigade increases the overall operational capability and global coverage for the civil affairs community.  Having more units improves upon the Army’s ability to legitimize and support local national government entities while deployed.

       The wide ranging skills of civil affairs teams are highly sought after within deployed environments and are often viewed as a precision type tool.

    “The government, economics and commerce, public facilities, special functions and linguistic teams within your units all provide critical capabilities that not only allow our combat forces to conduct full spectrum operations, but are instrumental in building the foundations of Iraq and Afghanistan to be self sufficient,” Campbell said.

      The mission of civil affairs Soldiers is one requiring a varied skill set.  They are asked to engage local government leaders to facilitate their needs while supporting the requirements of commanders and allowing strategic maneuverability.

      Newly assigned soldiers within the civil affairs community undergo extensive training.  According to the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion Web site, civil affairs training can take nearly one year for some Soldiers when including airborne and language schools. 

      With units to activate at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; and Fort Bragg, N.C. 85th Civil Affairs Brigade expects to complete the growth process by 2013.

     

  • FORT HOOD, Texas -- The US Army will officially recognize a new brigade here during an activation ceremony scheduled Friday, Sept. 30 at 9 a.m. at III Corps Headquarters, Fort Hood, Texas. 

      The 85th Civil Affairs Brigade will become the first active duty civil affairs brigade for Forces Command (FORSCOM).  The brigade, made up of five regionally aligned battalions, will bear the responsibility of supporting conventional forces in garrison and deployed.

      The ceremony is open to Soldiers, Family members and invited guests.  Media interested in attending should contact 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office no later than 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011.

    Staff Sgt. Gregory Sanders

    85th Civil Affairs Brigade PAO

    Office: 254-287-1406

    email:85thcivilaffairs.pao@us.army.mil