Meet Battle Company’s Female Engagement Team

Several new components have been added to Battle Company’s resources, including a two-soldier Female Engagement Team (FET).

Meet SPC Heather F. Ray and PFC Jacqueline Vaughn Buschman:

PFC Heather Ray (facing camera)

PFC Heather Ray (facing camera)

Jacqueline Vaughn Buschman (left) Shane Fackirell (center) and Heather Ray (right) during weapons training

Jacqueline Vaughn Buschman (left) Shane Fackirell (center) and Heather Ray (right) during weapons training

SPC Heather Ray

SPC Heather Ray

PFC Jacqueline Vaughn Buschman (left) and SPC Heather F.. Ray  have a moment of fun in their quarters at FOB Sweeney

PFC Jacqueline Vaughn Buschman (left) and SPC Heather F.. Ray have a moment of fun in their quarters at FOB Sweeney

A sick child and a soldier …

A note and editorial comment by Dr. Jerry Montgomery, coordinator of the Battle Company Project

February 26, 2012 — A couple of days ago, Sgt. John R. Ramirez and Spc. Henry Bolanos were on security duty somewhere near FOB Sweeney in southern Afghanistan when they came upon a sick three-year-old Afghan boy and his older brother.

SGT John R. Ramirez puts on his body armor before a mission

SGT John R. Ramirez puts on his body armor before a mission

Ramirez said the two soldiers “were out pulling security and these two kids – a 15-year-old with his three-year-old brother – came up to us and asked for help.” He said the older brother had tried asking for help for the past four days and each place he sought help “kept telling him to leave.” The sergeant took the kid to an aid station himself where he learned that the boy had an ear infection and the flu.

“That’s the kind of thing I thought American soldiers are supposed to do,” I told him. “Thank you for helping the kid.”

Generally soldiers are not supposed to help local civilians when the situation doesn’t involve life, limb or eyesight. But the sergeant wasn’t the only one present who understood the need for immediate action. A female interpreter with him gave the boys some of her own money and a blanket.

I hope others will join me in saying to these soldier/sons, “Thank you for doing the right thing.’

SGT John R. Ramirez on patrol 2-18-2012 in the mountains of southern Afghanistan

SGT John R. Ramirez on patrol 2-18-2012 in the mountains of southern Afghanistan

copyright (c) 2012 Gerald W. Montgomery – all rights reserved

Battle Company’s leaders

Battle Company leaders February 2012

Battle Company leaders February 2012

The Battle Company Leadership:
Back Row L-R: SFC Jeff Scott Schoonover, 2LT Matthew Domenech, SFC Troy Jensen, 2LT Jay Lee, 1LT Luke Fletcher, SFC Tymenski, CPT Ybarra, 2LT Chase Dannen, SSG Peter Adames

Bottom Row L-R: CPT Joe Mickley, 1SG Aron Alexander, 1LT Jordan Smiley, 1LT Stephan Mello

Black Sheep (2nd)  Platoon

Black Sheep (2nd) Platoon

Black Sheep (2nd) Platoon

Front row L-R: 1st Squad Leader SSG Antonio Barajas, 2nd Squad Leader SGT Grant Noble Short, 2LT Matthew Domenech, SFC Jeff Scott Schoonover, 3rd Squad Leader Brian Basham, weapons Squad Leader SSG David Cross

American soldiers … the cream of the crop!

Pens and watches on patrol…

Medic Uriel Velazquez with Afghan children on patrol

Medic Uriel Velazquez with Afghan children on patrol

“I gave you my pen now you want my watch? ta loco”

Uriel Velazquez and Adam L. Flechsig

Uriel Velazquez and Adam L. Flechsig

We’re ready!

Uriel Velazquez - Lester Rodgers - Travis Johnson - Eric Pollack - Adam L Flechsig - Eric Jackson - Morgan Caldwell

Uriel Velazquez - Lester Rodgers - Travis Johnson - Eric Pollack - Adam L Flechsig - Eric Jackson - Morgan Caldwell

Above a C-Troop team [Uriel Velazquez – Lester Rodgers – Travis Johnson – Eric Pollack – Adam L Flechsig – Eric Jackson – Morgan Caldwell] is preparing to go out on patrol near FOB Wolverine

Also on patrol, Justin Walker (below), also had an encounter with an Afghan child.

Justin Walker

Justin Walker

“Totally worth giving my watch away to the little Afghan kid to see the look on his face. I wish I could’ve gotten a picture of it. Too bad he’ll probably make a bomb out of it and kill me one day. Hope everyone’s good back home. Miss and love y’all.”

(Hint: somebody send that soldier another watch!)

Patrol to the village of Shinkai

Battle Company soldiers completed their first patrol outside FOB Sweeney on January 16, 2012.

Their task: to visit the village is in the Shinkai district, Zabul province, Afghanistan. Here is a photo essay by Army journalist, Sgt. Chris McCullough of the Combined Task Force Arrowhead Public Affairs office.

Eating Well at FOB Sweeney

The Soldiers of Battle Company, 5-20 Infantry, Task Force 1-14 Cavalry are are lucky that, even though they lack adequate supplies – largely in part to the remote nature of FOB Sweeney – the cooks there still manage to prepare a good, hot meal for them three times-a-day.

U.S. Army photographer Sgt. Chris McCullough, Combined Task Force Arrowhead Public Affairs, took these photos of the Sweeney dining facility a ew days ago.

Important note: the soldiers had to first build that dining facility when they arrived at FOB Sweeney in early January. Good job, guys!

Brithday Cake at FOB Wolverine

Regular eating isn’t all that happens when the troops are not on duty at FOB Wolverine. Sometimes the day just demands a party … so the soldiers of C troop organized one for their platoon leader, complete with a cake!

February 7th was Lt. Travis Johnson‘s birthday at FOB Wolverine. His soldiers managed to cobble together a decorated birthday cake for him and have a party, complete with Afghan bread.

(A local Battle Company Project (a.k.a. spouse) person is due a ‘thank you’ for thinking ahead and sending some cake decorations.)

Tooth-Pulling in life

One of my soldier/sons, Spc. Jason Maxwell wrote this on his Facebook page today during a reflective moment while on duty in the mountains of southern Afghanistan:

“I freakin’ hate how much this place makes me think and dream about the past…mistakes I’ve made…decisions I should have made and decisions i shouldn’t have…people I took advantage of and people I should have been better to. I guess all I can do is take the thoughts and do my best to mold myself into a better person as well as better the people around me. Its only been a month and a half and this place is brutal in ways i didn’t think of.”

It’s comforting to see a young man in the midst of the adventure of his life checking inside his soul to make sure life is OK. Few men in his place these days do so.

My response was that of an old man (me) whose feet have already traveled a long road:

“You are in a great place in your life, Jason. Your reflections on things done and the path already traveled are the first step into full maturity for a man or woman. It’s sort of like having a tooth pulled … you enjoyed all the sweets that caused the tooth decay, the actual pulling out of the tooth is a lot harder than you expected and when its out and healing has occurred life is good, really good. Then you are ready for the next step on your journey. I’ll walk with you whenever you want ‘cuz I’ve already been down the road.”

Any additional thoughts you would like me to share with Jason? Please post a comment. THANKS! –Jerry Montgomery

Spc. Jason Maxwell on duty in Afghanistan




























Patroling in the snow – 1

February, 2012 — After years of seeing images of American soldiers on foot patrol in the desert of Iraq, the images posted a few days ago by Sgt. First Class Eric Q. Jackson, provide a dramatic change in what an infantry patrol now looks like in the high mountains of southern Afghanistan.

Here is a gallery of images he took while on patrol last week near FOB Wolverine.