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    Frocking becomes Family affair

    Frocking becomes Family affair

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Meadows | Lt. Col. Nathan Blood, brigade effects coordinator for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th...... read more read more

    By Staff Sgt. Matt Meadows
    4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division

    FORWARD OPERATING BASE LOYALTY, Iraq – To frock a Soldier is always a special occasion, and getting frocked with two peers is even more unique, but when frocking becomes a family affair during a deployment; that's incredible.

    Frocking is the process of authorizing a Soldier to wear the next higher rank, befitting their duty position and status, before their official promotion date. Lt. Col. Nathan Blood, brigade effects coordinator for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Multi-National Division – Baghdad, received the honor with two of his peers at Forward Operating Base Loyalty, Aug. 2, 2008. His family was able to watch from Fort Polk, La., via video teleconference technology as Blood, a Richfield, Utah native, received his new rank.

    "He is not firing a lot of artillery, but he is doing a lot of fantastic things to rebuild this country and to make it a better country for the future," said Lt. Col. Donn Hill, deputy commanding officer for 4th BCT from Louisville, Ky., alluding to Blood's background as a field artillery officer and his current duties as the brigade effects coordinator. "We couldn't do it without him. It has been a pleasure for me to work with him for the last year and I am looking forward to working with him some more for the rest of our time here."

    Blood thanked Hill for performing the honor of frocking him. He reminded everyone watching from Fort Polk that he and Hill have worked closely together and said Hill has taught him a lot during the deployment and while training at Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk. In addition, Blood thanked Col. Mark Dewhurst, brigade commander of 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (L), for the unique occasion.

    "I want to thank you for making this opportunity available for all three of us," said Blood speaking of Lt. Col. Chris Dessaso, team chief for 2nd Battalion, 8th Brigade, 2nd National Police Transition Team from Springfield, Mass.; and Lt. Col. Roy Sons, brigade operations officer from Winchester, Tenn. "It is really something special to be promoted with Chris and Roy. It wouldn't have happened without your efforts, so I appreciate that. [They are] two of my brothers ... I am proud to stand here with."

    Blood credited the work of Soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers with whom he has been associated for much of his success and promotions in the Army, past and present. However, he saved the best for last.

    "Finally to my wife, I love you, and I couldn't do anything without you," Blood expressed directly to his wife, Kim, as she watched with pride from Fort Polk. "To be able to see my wife and daughter at a time as important as that was a good experience and a testament to the brigade to make that happen," Blood later commented, saying this was the first time Kim had the opportunity to see him get promoted.

    Blood has been assigned to 4th BCT, 10th Mtn. Div. (L) - the Patriot Brigade - for more than three years and served as the operations officer for 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment before becoming the brigade effects coordinator. Not only is the brigade ECOORD a lieutenant colonel position, but also its duties and responsibilities are extensive and far reaching, especially in a deployed environment such as Iraq. Being a lieutenant colonel will give Blood more credibility with Iraqi government and religious officials with whom he associates in the course of performing his duties, as they recognize and acknowledge the U.S. Army rank structure, he explained.

    Blood is responsible for targeting and executing coordination of all lethal and nonlethal operations in the Patriot Brigade. Current conditions in the brigade's operating environment allow Blood to spend most of his time coordinating nonlethal operations, including information operations and civil-military operations, he said.

    The effects cell has a human terrain team that gathers information and builds a human-terrain picture of the population within the brigade operating environment, explained Blood. In addition, effects personnel integrate with an embedded Provincial Reconstruction Team to work on improving areas such as business and industry.

    "We try to divide the population from the insurgency by implementing systems and by implementing services to develop the Government of Iraq and the people of Iraq and invalidate the insurgents," continued Blood. "That is what we spend a lot of our time doing."

    Blood said the trends in improved security are testaments to the diligent work of the members of the Patriot Brigade effects cell and their predecessors. Given all of Blood's extraordinary efforts to help the people and Government of Iraq, and that of everyone in effects, it is no surprise that the achievements in which he will take the most pride when he boards a plane to head home will be that of Iraqis.

    "I think I'll be most proud of ... the Government of Iraq and the Iraqi security forces. I'm proud of what they've accomplished and our ability to get them to the point where they can handle things on their own," commented Blood. "What we have accomplished in those areas is most important for the long-term success of Iraq and for our mission, so I think that is how we measure what is important and what I'll feel good about."

    At the end of the day, the importance of family cannot be understated. With this thought in mind, the Patriot Brigade leadership not only coordinated for concerned families back at Fort Polk to watch the frocking of three officers, they gave them private time together.

    After the frocking ceremony, Blood and his newly promoted colleagues had personal time to talk with their families. Blood said he only took about five minutes of VTC time with his family because this allowed more time for Dessaso and Sons to see and talk with their families and hometown supporters. He and his wife keep connected and see each other regularly through a Web camera. Blood's 16-month-old daughter, Mackenzie, takes these opportunities to get up close and personal with her deployed dad as they share laughter, high-fives and kisses through the magic of modern technology.

    "It is important to maintain that relationship," said Blood. "And to see the other side of it and how she is excited to see me as much as I am excited to see her is pretty special."



    Date Taken: 08.02.2008
    Date Posted: 08.16.2008 09:39
    Story ID: 22567
    Location: BAGHDAD, IQ

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