4th Inf. Div. Slogan Represented Well At Monthly Town Hall Meeting
CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq - The 4th Infantry Division and Multi-National Division Baghdad, currently headquartered at Camp Liberty, represented the division's "mission statement" very well at the monthly Town Hall Meeting held at the Media Operations Center July 23. The meeting was broadcasted via satellite to friends and Family members gathered at Fort Hood, Texas, and Fort Carson, Colo.
"Mission, Soldier, Family, Team," said Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., who serves as the division commanding general, speaking to those in attendance about the unit slogan. "Our glass is half-full, fire is in our bellies and we're moving out and getting this done," he continued, setting the stage for the night's other speakers.
The other speakers came from the 4th Inf. Div.'s subordinate units and they spoke openly and candidly about what their different units do to aid the division's mission and to aid the campaign to help rebuild this war-torn country.
"In the STB (Division Special Troops Battalion) specifically, we're executing everything from public affairs, signal support, medical support, staff planning, command and control, protection of the CG (Commanding General) and command group in the battlefield," said the DSTB commander, Lt. Col. Dale Buckner, a native of Rochester, N.Y. "It's a massive mission and everybody in the STB is performing exceptionally well," he continued.
Buckner also served a dual role as one of the meeting's two emcees. He, along with fellow Soldier Lt. Col. David Ristedt, division surgeon, and native of Nolanville, Texas, hosted the meeting and kept the mood very light.
"The best way to sum up what I do is to say that if it smells like antiseptic, I'm probably the man to talk to in Baghdad," Ristedt joked. However, he quickly shifted his tone in order to second the more serious points made by Buckner.
"We've stabilized the country, built schools, reestablished markets, opened new hospitals, built and refurbished swimming pools … assisting the Iraqi people in every facet of their day-to-day life," he said.
Among others who spoke at the meeting on behalf of their units was Sgt. Seth Schott, a native of Lake Oswego, Ore., who serves as a team leader for the division commanding general's personal security detail, Company D, DSTB. He spoke about his unit's involvement as Hammond's PSD.
"My team and I along with our squad escort the CG around the MND-B area of operations," Schott said. "I ensure before every patrol that our weapon systems are ready to go, along with all of our electrical systems, including our communications," he added, talking about some of his specific duties.
Along with Schott, other Soldiers spoke about the specific duties they perform within the Division's mission.
"I'm a 35 Foxtrot, which is an Intelligence Analyst," said Sgt. 1st Class Amanda Fulp, a member of Headquarters Support Company, DSTB, and a native of Adel, Ga. "My job as the detainee holding area LNO (Liaison Officer) is to assist with the in-processing of detainees, making sure all requirements are met to accept the detainees, track movement of detainees, and assist in collecting information helpful to the interrogators," she added.
However, the most significant remark Fulp made was likely about the contribution her teams' mission makes.
"By doing this, we ensure all proper procedures and guidance from the standard operating procedures are maintained and done correctly, to prevent any incidents that would cause disgrace to the U.S. Army."
Another Soldier who spoke at the meeting is also the newest general officer assigned to 4th Inf. Div. and MND-B.
"I am absolutely honored that I have the opportunity to come and serve with the 4th Infantry Division," said Brig. Gen. Robin Swan, a native of Pittsburgh, and the newly appointed deputy commanding general of support, as he formally introduced himself. "What a professional crew, what a professional outfit across the board."
Along with the newest member of their command group "Family" introducing himself, special attention was drawn to the fact that there are several married couples serving here together, not only division-wide, but in the DSTB specifically.
"There's close to 25 married couples across the entire STB," said Cpt. Charlsey Mahle, commander of HSC, DSTB, and a native of Kingsport, Tenn. "In my company alone there are ten married couples," she added.
Charlsey spoke alongside her husband Colin, who, in addition to being one of the commanding general's aide, is also member of Co. A, DSTB, and a native of Sacramento, Calif. The two spoke about the division's Family-friendly mentality and how the various chain's of command do everything they can to keep dual-service Family members together.
"We know what the division commander means when he says he cares about our families," Charlsey said. "He's the reason we're here together today, and our situation is not unique," she added, referring to herself and her husband.
The Mahles also noted that there are several other Soldiers currently serving in this theater of operations with their Family members. They said that there are brothers serving with brothers, brothers serving with sisters, sisters serving with sisters and parents serving with their children.
Along with the contributions of the 4th Inf. Div.'s Family of Soldiers, the unit's deputy commanding general of maneuver, Brig. Gen. Will Grimsley, a native of Charleston, S.C., wanted to make sure that the efforts of the division's extended Army Family did not go unrecognized.
"We inherited a great situation from our friends in the First Team and just as we said we were going to do, we've made it that much better, raised the bar, continued the standard and we're out there getting after it everyday," he said, referring to the standards set by 1st Cavalry Division, also out of Fort Hood, Texas. "We'll continue doing that until the day we get home and hand it back to our friends in the First Team," he added.
No matter who spoke at this meeting, one thing was made clear by the command group and that was the importance of all the contributions by their Soldiers.
"The staff and the folks who were represented here tonight are doing just a phenomenal job," said Col. Allen Batschelet, chief of staff for the 4th Inf. Div. and MND-B. "I am really proud to be associated with them."
Hammond prefaced those same remarks at the beginning of the meeting when he said, "Your Army, your division is on the move and we're succeeding each and every day." He also gave the main and most important reason why the division is succeeding.
"How do we make this happen? Two words: The Soldier."
All in all, Hammond said it best, and based on the words of the division song, which the 4th Inf. Div. Band played to conclude the meeting, it's apparent that these "Iron-Horse" Soldiers are indeed "Steadfast and Loyal… fit to fight."
Discussed during the meetings question and answer portion were the following highlights:
Q: With the drawback of troops in Iraq and the build-up for Afghanistan, how will this affect the 4th Inf. Div. Troops currently deployed?
A: Right now there will be no effect. There is no plan that affects us right now with us redeploying and any forces going to Afghanistan from Iraq. (Buckner)
Q: How soon until the 4th Inf. Div. Soldiers at Fort Hood move to Fort Carson, once they come home?
A: June 2009 (Buckner)
Q: Will there be a formal flag-uncasing ceremony at Forts Hood and Carson?
A: "Damn straight there will be a ceremony and we're gonna do it up big" said Command Sgt. Major John Gioia, division senior enlisted leader, and native of Buffalo, N.Y., quoting Hammond.
Q: Where are the 4th Inf. Div. Town Hall questions and answers are posted?
A: 4th Inf. Div. webpage about 48 hours after the Town Hall meeting.
Q: Will our families get to stay in housing at Fort Hood until school gets out?
A: None of our families will get pushed from housing until school is over. (Buckner via Hammond)
Q: Does 4th Inf. Div. control any part of Sadr City?
A: 4th Inf. Div. does not specifically control a piece of Sadr City, but they help in securing the city for the Iraqi citizens to be able to live normally. (Grimsley)
Also discussed was: the Division memorial, the timeframe for the move to Fort Carson and the combat aviation brigade's move to Fort Bliss, Texas, around or after 2010.
Related Support Our Troops, Read Their Stories News