A message home from the troops

Posted: Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Happy Veterans Day to all you veterans on the Kenai Peninsula. Thanks for a job well done. Thank you for the great service to our nation. It's to you that my family and my children are able to live free.

The soldiers here in A Company (forward), 3d Bn/297th Infantry, formerly of B Company, 3/297th Infantry stationed on our own South Forest Drive in Kenai, send our sincere apology. We couldn't make it (Thursday) to help out with the gun salute at the vets ceremony. We're a little busy, and they wouldn't give us a pass. We may be a little busy next year, also. But 2006 is a go.

Sgt. 1st Class Troy Zimmerman of Nikiski, Staff Sgt. Gregory Fite of Kenai, Sgt. John McGrane of Kenai, Specialist Lay of Soldotna-Sterling and myself send you all our greetings and thanks.

We all are doing well, training hard here in New Mexico. We live in a Forward Observation Post (FOB) 20 miles outside of Fort Bliss, Texas. But it's no bliss. We do have plenty of sun.

We have to wear of full gear with weapons and Kevlar body armor all day long, even when going to chow. We call it our "battle rattle." And, no, we do get a choice when using the latrines. They run this FOB just as if it's in Iraq or Afghanistan.

We do, however, have a mini post exchange (PX) that is really mini. You can get some necessities there and a Coke, but not much. Once in a while we get to go to the main PX on Fort Bliss. I do miss Carrs and Fred Meyer. We can't get a beer here, though. Our wives really appreciate that.

We also have a computer lab here that we can use, but only for 20 to 30 minutes. Mine are almost up.

Troy and I are both platoon sergeants here. Gregory is a squad leader with Troy. Our platoons have been doing platoon and company training operations since we arrived here about three weeks ago. We've also been doing some live fire on the small arms weapons from the .50 caliber to the M16 rifles.

We've only got two days break so far and may have Thanksgiving off. We'll try to find a town here that will adopt us then.

But we all miss home.

Our planned deployment is next February.

I know you vets there on the peninsula may enjoy this little info. I'm being chased out, so I'll write again later.

God bless you and once again, thank you for a job well done.

SFC Will Schwenke

U.S. Army National Guard

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