By the time Daren Taylor reached Iraq during “Operation Enduring Freedom” at Christmas time 2005, he had served more than three years in the Army as a combat medic. He was a sergeant attached to the Army’s 1st Cavalry Division.
There are few commendations more important to a U.S. Army soldier than the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. One-inch high by three-inches-long with a silver infantry musket and an oak leaf wreath says the soldier wearing it came under enemy fire.
Twenty-year-old David Frey of Port Charlotte, Fla. is a Navy Seabee who just returned from his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Spc. 4 Brian Nethery is headed back to Iraq after 15 days’ rest and relaxation following eight months in the thick of it with the “Big Red One,” the 1st Infantry Division, stationed at Balad, approximately 50 miles north of Baghdad.
Specialist Bryanna Poulin of North Port, Fla. is a gung-ho Army reporter-photographer attached to the 25th Infantry Division station at a desert base called “Cob Speicher” just outside Tikrit — Saddam Hussein’s hometown.
Lance Cpl. Chali Wolfrom, a 20-year-old Marine and North Port, Fla. High School graduate, has just returned from a six-month tour of duty in Ramadi, Iraq.
Former 1st Sgt. Ken Drew was a “Cold War” warrior. He spent most of his 23 years in the Army as a Spanish-speaking, military intelligence expert who served 14 of those years fighting South and Central American dictators and drug lords. Toward the end of his service he did a hitch in Iraq during the height of “The Surge,” interrogating high profile Iraqi detainees.
Lance Cpl Brian Rory Buesing, killed in an ambush in the Iraqi desert, was buried in a north Florida fishing village as his Marine unit marched on downtown Baghdad half a world away.