Utah Guard's Senior Leaders

Visit Utah Soldiers in Iraq

 

By Sgt. Whit Houston

128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

 

Published August 27, 2008

 

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Utah Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, left, administers the oath of reenlistment to Sgt. Shana Henline, center, of Tooele, and Sgt. Whit Houston, of Cedar City, both of the 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, July 22 in Baghdad during Tarbet's visit to Iraq.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Kelly Collett

Utah Guard Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, left, administers the oath of reenlistment to Sgt. Shana Henline, center, of Tooele, and Sgt. Whit Houston, of Cedar City, both of the 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, July 22 in Baghdad during Tarbet's visit to Iraq.

CAMP LIBERTY, Iraq – Soldiers from the 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, Utah National Guard, attached to the 4th Infantry Division and Multi-National Division – Baghdad, received a surprise visit from their state adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet, and the state’s senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce D. Summers.

The visit was unexpected to the Soldiers because when Tarbet visited them at their mobilization training site at Ft. Dix, N.J., he had expressed regret that he would probably not be able to see them during their tour in Iraq for various reasons.

“It’s really hard to get justification to see a small amount of people who are thousands of miles away, and it also takes a higher level of security to transport a general,” said 1st Sgt. Robert A. Logan of the 128th MPAD.

 Tarbet was able to come out to see Soldiers of the 128th MPAD as part of a tour to Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan in order to visit and assess needs of Utah National Guard Soldiers in their battle spaces throughout Southwest Asia.

“He was checking up on [his] troops at multiple locations in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan to provide support and determine if there were any issues that needed to be worked out, either at home state, or here in theater at his level,” said Maj. Lorraine Januzelli, commander of the 128th MPAD.

A visit from the state’s senior officer and senior noncommissioned officer creates a sense of stability for Soldiers and lets them know that they are appreciated back home.

Utah Guard's Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Summers, speaks to Soldiers of the 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, currently attached to the 4th Infantry Division and Multinational Division in Baghdad.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Kelly Collett

Utah Guard's Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Summers, speaks to Soldiers of the 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, currently attached to the

4th Infantry Division and Multinational Division in Baghdad.

“Whenever your two-star comes down to see you it’s an honor. It’s a big deal for him to travel [over] 5,000 miles to come and see us,” said Januzelli.

Not only was the event great for the troops, but it was rewarding for the visitors as well.

“This was a special treat for us, because I didn’t think we were going to get up here to see you, but the guys at the National Guard Bureau made it happen for us,” said Tarbet to members of the 128th, reflecting his gratitude for those who helped make the visit possible.

Tarbet praised the Utah Soldiers and their work. He also expressed his desire for them to adhere to safety guidelines, with the end in mind of getting the troops home to their families unharmed.

“This trip has given me a great opportunity to say thanks to some great Soldiers who are doing outstanding work and telling a marvelous story. Every time you leave the wire telling Soldiers’ stories, you are subject to the same dangers as every other Soldier, so please be careful,” said Tarbet. “We want to see all of you home safe and back with your families.”

While in Baghdad, Tarbet participated in an awards ceremony, preside at a reenlistment, and even attend a birthday celebration for some of the Soldiers whose birthdays had passed, leaving the MPAD Soldiers with renewed spirits for the appreciation and praise supplied by their state leadership.