3,000 miles in Afghanistan

102d Public Affairs Detachment
Story by Sgt. Jessi McCormick

Date: 08.12.2013
Posted: 08.14.2013 06:53
News ID: 111923
3,000 miles in Afghanistan

TARIN KOT, Afghanistan - Growing up on a farm in Weston, Ohio, U.S. Army Spc. Michelle Renay Metzger enjoyed getting dirty and working with farm machinery.

A graduate of McComb High School in McComb, Ohio, and current junior at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio, Metzger enjoys sports and four-wheeling, and was drawn to the military in high school.

“I joined the National Guard to better myself in general and have a better appreciation of life,” Metzger said.

Metzger completed basic training in April 2010 at Fort Jackson, S.C. From there, she attended advanced individual training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., to become a motor transport operator.

“When given the definition of what a motor transport operator was, I couldn’t wait to learn about armored vehicles that had survived improvised explosive device blasts and traversed some of the harshest terrain in the world,” Metzger said. “I am always learning something new about the trucks, whether it is a new device that has been incorporated into the truck or learning how to replace the brake pads.”

Metzger has been deployed to Kandahar and Tarin Kot, Afghanistan, with the 1487th Transportation Company, Ohio Army National Guard, since January 2013 as a mine resistant ambush protected vehicle driver. Her daily job includes basic maintenance on the vehicle, such as checking and adding fluids and inspecting the engine, tires and windows. She is also expected to keep her training current on navigation and communication systems, as well as keep a strict inventory.

As an MRAP driver, Metzger keeps a log of every mile she’s driven. She says her mileage is currently around 3,000 for the deployment.

When she returns home, Metzger plans on continuing to help her dad harvest on the farm while also attending dental hygiene school. She became interested in the dental program after learning the anatomy of the mouth in high school.

Metzger says the military has presented her with a great sense of accomplishment. While others have told her in the past that she couldn’t join the military, couldn’t drive a gun truck, or couldn’t handle a deployment, she overcame the odds and completed her goals.

“I want my niece and my future children to look up to me, in a way that I look up to women in the military,” Metzger said.