Sierra Mello decided to serve her country, earn some money for college tuition and hoped to experience Europe after she graduated from Soldotna High School. That was less than a month before 9-11. U.S. Army Spc. 4 Mello is presently assigned to the 141st Signal Battalion in Iraq and provides tech support for the engineers of the 1st Armored Division in Baghdad.
Returning home on leave recently, Mello said, "It feels wonderful, it's hard to leave, but coming home is terrific after two years." She says her life now has a lot more discipline and pressure than her life growing up in the Central Peninsula where her mother Debbie taught music. Mello works a lot with the people of Iraq and says you can tell they are tired of us being there and are eager for us to leave, but have no idea what type of government they want after the U.S. is gone.
Soldotna Mayor David Carey read a Mayoral Citation to PFC Mello at last weeks Soldotna Chamber of Commerce meeting prior to her redeployment to Iraq. The citation recognized Mello's service with distinction while setting up outposts under hostile fire, and congratulated her on being a goal-directed, strong-willed patriot, and applauded the example she provides for all citizens. The Mayor on behalf of the city wished Mello God's speed and protection as she serves her country and ideals for which it stands.
Mello commented in a radio interview for KSRM that the support from back home was much appreciated, "It helps when soldiers on leave call back to Iraq and let their units know how the people at home are treating us here, and it helps the morale over there in Iraq. Writing letters and keeping us in your prayers helps too," said Mello. In 16 months Mello will finish her 4 year enlistment and begin her college career at DeVry Institute in Phoenix, Arizona where she hopes to earn a degree in business administration. Sierra is the daughter of Debbie and Gordon Griffin of Soldotna, and Roger and Wanda Mello of Arvin, California.
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