Family Affair Elevates Army Promotion Ceremony in Iraq

FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – When three soldiers earn a promotion ceremony simultaneously, it’s noteworthy. But when those promotions turn into a family event – thanks to technology – that’s extraordinary.

Tech Promotion Ceremony

Lt. Col. Nathan Blood, a Utah native, received a “frocking” on Aug. 2, 2008, at Forward Operating Base Loyalty. Frocking allows soldiers to wear a higher rank before the official promotion. His family watched from Fort Polk, La., via video conference.

“Lt. Col. Blood contributes immensely to rebuilding Iraq,” said Lt. Col. Donn Hill, the deputy commander from Louisville, Ky. “His efforts are invaluable, and I look forward to working with him.”

Blood thanked Hill for the frocking. He also recognized Lt. Col. Chris Dessaso from Springfield, Mass., and Lt. Col. Roy Sons from Winchester, Tenn., who were promoted alongside him.

Promotion Ceremony in Iraq, Lt Col Nathan Blood. Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Meadows.
Promotion Ceremony in Iraq, Lt Col Nathan Blood. Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Meadows.

“I am proud to stand with these men. This moment wouldn’t be possible without collective efforts,” Blood said.

Blood lauded his fellow soldiers, officers, and non-commissioned officers for their role in his career. Yet, his highest praise went to his wife, Kim, watching from Fort Polk.

“I love you, and I couldn’t do this without you,” Blood told Kim. “Witnessing this milestone with you was special.”

Patriot Brigade

Blood has been with the 4th Brigade, known as the Patriot Brigade, for over three years. He works extensively with the Iraqi government and focuses mainly on non-lethal operations, including civil-military initiatives.

He leads a human terrain team that gathers vital information. This data helps implement systems that strengthen the Iraqi government and marginalize insurgents.

“Success for us is measured by the progress of the Iraqi government and security forces,” Blood said. “I take pride in their achievements.”

Family Connection

Family remains paramount for Blood and his colleagues. Following the promotion ceremony, they spent personal time talking to their families via video, cherishing simple moments like laughter and high-fives.

“It’s important to maintain family connections,” Blood said. “And these moments make it special.”

Staff Sgt. Matthew Meadows
Staff Sgt. Matthew Meadows is a military journalist with 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs who sends stories to NewsBlaze.