By Sgt. Jon Cupp
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
CAMP TAJI, Iraq (Nov. 20, 2006) - Soldiers of the Fort Hood, Texas-based 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division have arrived in Iraq.
Over the past few weeks, the brigade's nearly 4,500 Soldiers have been moving into their areas of responsibility (AOR) here as they take over for their counterparts in the 1st Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division.
According to senior officials within the brigade, their goal during their one-year rotation will be to work with the Iraqi people to provide a safe, secure and stable environment inside their AOR for the Iraqis.
For Capt. Marvin Ross, commander for Battery A, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment and a native of Channelview, Texas, his battery's mission involves three responsibilities: counter-fire missions, acting as tower guards and providing gate security.
Ross said he hopes his Soldiers take away some important life lessons from their mission here to include the reason why they are currently serving overseas.
"I hope they take to heart the fact that we're here to make a difference as we assist the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces and see them through to their goal of becoming a legitimate, governed state," said Ross.
"Once we complete the transfer of authority (with the 4th Int. Div.), we'll get into a regular rhythm or battle routine," added Ross. "As we keep busy, eventually the time will fly by for the Soldiers."
In the meantime, Ross's troops and other Soldiers in the brigade have been getting settled into their two-person trailers, which serve as their living quarters, and into their work areas.
In the next few weeks, Soldiers will continue unloading their equipment and starting their missions which will include patrols throughout the AOR.
The rotation marks the second time that Fort Hood, Texas native, Sgt. Chester Temple, a unit supply specialist with Battery A, has served in Iraq.
"I hope to learn how to run the logistical aspects of my job better during the wartime experience," said Temple, who currently has a brother returning from Iraq with the 4th Inf. Div. and another brother serving with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq.
Before leaving for Iraq, Temple's father who retired after 24 years in the Army and served in both Vietnam and Grenada had some parting advice for his three sons who have all served in Iraq.
"He told us to 'Keep your head down, but keep your butt lower!'" said Temple.
Some of the younger Soldiers pulling their first tours in Iraq said they look forward to their mission and that they will be looking out for one another.
"I want to make sure that I get home alive and that everyone else comes home alive," said Pfc. Adam Boland, a gun truck diver for Company A, 115th Brigade Support Battalion.
Boland, a native of Minetonka, Minn., will be spending his time in Iraq pulling security during convoy operations.
Portland, Ore. native Pfc. Joshua Drummond, is a fire direction control specialist for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Bn., 82nd FA Regt. who will work as a radio telephone operator during his tour. He echoed similar Boland's sentiments.
"I hope that we can make things safer for the people who come here after we're gone," he said.