By Sgt. Brad Willeford
2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – A native of Port Huron, Mich., he has come a long way from his days of skate boarding, playing football and working at a local home improvement store. An avid skateboarder who loves to "grind," his days of "ollies" and "tail drags" are now days of patrols and finding ways to assist the people of Iraq.
It is a challenge that Spc. Bradley Cook, Cook an infantryman serving with Company C, 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds," 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team "Warrior," 25th Infantry Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad, meets heads on.
When he joined the U.S. Army in January 2006, his request was quite simple – he desired to be an infantryman.
"When I told the recruiter what I wanted to do, he told me there is no doubt that I would be coming to Iraq," said Cook.
The recruiter, of course, was correct.
After being notified of his pending deployment to Iraq, Cook said he a little nervous and anxious but excited. He felt he was ready for any challenges and felt confident in the training his unit conducted at Schofield Barracks, at the Pohakuloa Training Area on the Big Island of Hawaii, and during his combined training at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Since arriving in Iraq, Cook has been on daily missions. On his first mission, Cook said he felt a little apprehensive going out and "not knowing exactly what to expect "[but] everything I had learned came back to me – and I adjusted."
On a recent mission, Cook was on the road for more than nine hours, visiting Joint Security Stations in the brigade's area of operations, and focused on become more familiar with the area. He said he was exhausted but found it rewarding knowing he had an opportunity to help others.
"I just love it – not knowing what the next day will hold," Cook stated.
He has been busy in the first nine months in Iraq. He served as a member of the brigade's tactical reserve, responsible for rapid response to high impact events in the brigade's area located north of Baghdad. The myriad of duties his team was responsible for included recovering downed aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles and aiding in efforts to rebuild Iraq and stabilize the local area.
During a two-month period in the spring, he assisted Iraqi army soldiers in securing and stabilizing Sadr City during intense combat, where fire fights were daily occurrences. He has also assisted in providing security and essential services to the residents in the Abu Gharib Qada.
"He is a stellar performer, who always puts his best foot forward on a consistent basis," said Staff Sgt. Jason Menard, Cook's squad leader. "He's one of the best Soldiers I have in my squad."
Cook recently earned the title of the Task Force's "Soldier of the Quarter."
This work, Wolfhound Soldier of the Quarter, Soldier-skateboarder grinds in Iraq, by SGT Brad Willeford, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.