Monday, April 11, 2011


We're on a countdown on alot of things in the world right now.  Let's see, there are the Stanley Cup Finals, the upcoming NFL Draft, the Royal Wedding and of course, May 21.....Judgment Day, which will dissolve into the End of the World on October 21st.  We'll see about the last mention.  If I'm not mistaken, there is only one individual that knows if that's really going to happen.  I'll just leave it at that.  The countdown I'm most interested in, is for the Iowa National Guard troops returning home from Afghanistan this coming summer.

It's been a long eight months of deployment thus far.  For the soldiers, it's been a day by day exercise in peace keeping.  And in recent weeks, another objective has popped up.  Clear the Galuch Valley from north to south and establish a coalition footprint in the area which is a known insurgent stronghold and training area. Additionally, the plan was to eliminate insurgent forces, weapons and bomb-making materials in the Valley.  For families, the days are full of uncertainty.  What is most certain, is that soldiers are closer to the action than ever....and in harm's way. 

By The Grace Of God....The Homecoming
 “When you’re in a place like this doing the kinds of things required to be successful, for my soldiers every day is game day.  One of my biggest concerns is that we become complacent,” Col. Benjamin Corell said.    Corell is commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 34th Red Bulls Infantry Division. 

Corell offered some further insights.  Charlie Co. is stationed at the Kalagush forward operating base in Nuristan Province and is part of 2nd Brigade Combat Team.  Spc. Timothy Bagley of Brandon and Sgt. Eric Lindsey of Eldora, members of Co. C based in Iowa Falls, were injured when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, according to military officials.  Their injuries were described as not life-threatening and both are expected to recover.

Corell said as the weather breaks in Afghanistan, snow melts and mountain passes open.  “Insurgents have more freedom of movement when this happens so it’s not uncommon to see an uptick in attacks. This is something we fully expected would happen as we moved into spring,” Corell said.

According to Corell, soldiers conduct more than 150 patrols a week. Since the bulk of the brigade arrived in late October, troops found more than 40 pieces of unexploded ordnance, responded to 20 indirect fire attacks on posts and were involved in more than 50 small-arms battles.  The number of seriously wounded soldiers has been low, Corell said, “and by the grace of God” there haven’t been any fatalities.
Some members of the Iowa Guard could be returning home sooner than mentioned.  This coming Friday, I'm beginning a countdown of 60 days.  Don't ask me why, I just have a feeling.  I'm hopeful that by July 4th, our son will be home and on the couch.  Back with us, family and friends.  And what a relief that will be..... by the grace of God.   



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