Junior Michael Hartmann is one of six UVa-Wise students currently deployed in the military and based out of An Nasiriyah, Iraq. In this occasional column, Hartmann, writes about life at war and his experiences abroad.
Our company had been training for the deployment since the beginning of last school year and hit active duty service two days after final exams in May.
We were put under the command of Task Force 2-183 and premobilized out of Camp Aderberry, in Edinburgh, Ind. There, we endured tough and tedious training, but it was all out of necessity for our mission into USCENTCOM (United States Central Command).
We entered our theater of operation a month later and began our mission.
There are six active students on deployment from the college. Spc. Nick Stapleton and Spc. Tyler Carroll have been leaders in their respective platoons and were just recently awarded with early promotions for their work.Pfc. Ethan Brinkley has been a rock of consistency out here, and someone everyone in the company has learned to depend on. Pfc. Keith Linville has set the standard with his unmatched with his work ethic. Sgt. Harrison Newton has been chosen to the prestigious position to lead the scout element in his convoy escort team and has excelled in this position. He was recently injured on a mission and was medevaced to Germany, though he’s now in good health and stateside.
The extent of the college’s influence has been amazing, even thousands of miles away from the institution.
There are soldiers in an upper echelon of our leadership who are alumni from the college who still proudly represent the college and make us feel like family.
For all the drastic adversities we have endured, I believe we will come out of this as stronger people.
We received an opportunity to sacrifice for the things we love and have become better evolved and well-rounded. These ideals are something we learned to strive for coming out of our prestigious liberal arts school.
Last week the sorrow of war hit home for some in the community, with the passing of an outstanding citizen and father. He was a great mentor for us and it is a huge blow to our unit. Our condolences go out to all his of his family and friends.
Lastly, we all just wanted to thank everyone back at school for all the support for us out here.
There were a lot of tough moments when your support through letters and care packages really carried us through.
It has really has made a world of difference and our gratitude can not expressed enough.