Brandon English 101-08
Title: BATTLE BUDDIES
Audience: The Class
The rattling sound of the diesel engine and lack of sleep caused my mind to wander. I stopped myself from thinking about my family, the most important thing in my life. In a combat zone, distractions of the mind have caused the death of good soldiers, great soldiers, better soldiers than me. “Stay alert stay alive” is one of many things the Army had taught me in basic combat training, but training can never completely prepare someone for their first combat experience. When news came that I was getting assigned to fire team alpha, a sense of relief started to flow through my body. Sergeant Rodelo and Specialist Johnson both had combat experience. Three months before deploying to Afghanistan, Sgt. Rodelo spent a year fighting in the Kosovo War. Spc. Johnson was previously with the 75th Ranger regiment in the battle of Mogadishu. The other two troopers (Specialist White and Private First Class Lyons) and I were relieved to hear we would have that kind of experience in our gun truck. The three of us had been together since basic training. We attended advanced individual training and were assigned to the same unit at the 101st Airborne Division.
Sgt. Rodelo was an outstanding soldier and squad leader that stood about 5’5” and was approximately 180 pounds of solid rock. All of the troopers in my platoon respected Sgt. Rodelo. He set the standard high in first squad. One evening before our deployment, Sgt. Rodelo invited my family and me to his home for dinner, an experience that allowed us to get acquainted with his wife and two daughters. This also gave us time to have a couple of beers and talk candidly. As it got later in the evening, I realized a friendship was developing. That night, he told me a story about his youngest daughter that really made me think about how many sacrifices soldiers make. He had been home from Kosovo for three months and his youngest...