News: Strike rings in the holiday season
Story by Sgt. Joe Padula
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. — The weather outside is frightful, but the training for some has not been so delightful. Since the return from its previous deployment, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), has been extremely active in training its leaders and Soldiers for their next "Rendezvous with Destiny."
Initially with individual Soldier training and then progressing up the training glide-path to building strong and combat-ready companies, the Strike Brigade has accomplished its goals and is setting itself up for success wherever it may go to conduct combat operations.
Now with the holiday spirit filling the cold Kentucky air and Fort Campbell's winter exodus arriving soon, the Strike Brigade is making sure its Soldiers and their families are given opportunities to spend some of the holiday cheer with their battle buddies and families.
Soldiers from Company B, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, enjoyed a holiday party at the Dale Wayrynen Community Recreation Center, Dec. 1, to bring the unit together as a team and to cherish these holidays moments.
"We're having a holiday party for the Soldiers, their families and anybody, any shape or form, involved with the Renegades, Bravo Company," said 1st Sgt. George Fitzke, the company's first sergeant. "Old members, new members, all members have been invited to get together and share in the fellowship, this way everyone can benefit from this event before going on block leave."
The Soldiers of Company B have been working extremely hard for the past year with a rigorous and demanding training schedule in the process of preparing themselves for the next potential deployment. A social gathering as such allows for a great chance for those to relax from their hard-nosed training.
"We started with the smaller units executing individual training and have eventually worked all the way up to the company level, successfully maneuvering as a company," said Fitzke. "Reaching this point takes a great amount of concentration and strength and this is a great way for us to unwind and really get back to what our basics are — our families."
The Strike Brigade knows the value of families in the Army and is a firm believer in the importance of family involvement within the brigade's events, being both frequent and habitual.
"Family is what drives us to do the things we do, they are our biggest motivators," said Fitzke. "Daughter or son, mother or father, brother or sister, these are who we are working hard for. It's not done for medals or accolades; it's done for them so an event like this is also a reward for them."
With a large assortment of festive food and drink provided, holiday decorations filling the room and music to match the season playing in the background, they met and intermingled with the family members of the company.
"This is a really great opportunity for the families because we get to meet all the other wives and other family members that are with this unit," said Kelly Ivey, the wife of 1st Lt. Jacob Ivey, Company B's executive officer. "And this is a really great group of guys who deserve such a night."
Far too often leadership says the welfare of its Soldiers is in their best interests, and by actually producing the parties that build stronger unit cohesion outside of the training environment, proves it to their Soldiers.
"This shows that we care about them and that we will put the extra time and effort in for them," said 1st Lt. Jacob Ivey. "This is also a great way to relax, especially with the block leave coming up and it lets everybody know that it is Christmas time, a time for us to be thankful for all we enjoy."
Capt. David Yu, the company commander, thanked all of the people who assisted in putting together the Renegade's holiday party, really emphasizing the involvement of family members with the creation of the festivity.
"The first sergeant and I have been very busy and I like to thank all of the people who helped put this together for us," said Yu. "Without the families being involved, nights like these would not be able to happen. It's great to see such a great turnout as well."
The Soldiers, the ones whom make up the teams and squads that allow Company B to continue to be a respected force, also appreciates the night of merriment.
"It's a lot of fun being able to come together and have a great time with the battle buddies outside of our regular working area," said Spc. Orlando Gonzalez, the company's radio transmission operator. "All the guys have been working really hard and are glad to be here celebrating these times as a company."