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A soldier with a specific goal in Rockwall

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“The Military View” by columnist Jerry Hogan. Nathan Raulston, son of Kim and Terry Raulston of Rockwall, and husband of Jessica Mills Raulston of Mesquite, graduated from Rockwall High School in 2003 and today he is in Iraq helping defend our freedoms.

Nathan enlisted in the US Army in early 2007 and immediately started his training to become a Cavalry Scout. In the classical sense, the Army uses their Scout units to find the enemy and hold them in place until other units can engage them with heavier weapons. But in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, since these Scout units are highly mobile and can move quickly in an area, they are used extensively in patrolling both urban and open areas as well as actually engaging enemy forces they might find.

In the summer of 2007 Nathan deployed to Germany where his first unit was located in Schweinfurt and then relocated to Grafenwhoer, Germany, one of the major training area for US forces in Germany. His stay was short as the unit deployed to Iraq in the early winter of last year and now is located at one of the Forward Operating Bases (FOB) south of Baghdad. As he says, “the mission of my unit is to work hand in hand with Iraqi police, army, and security forces to help them sustain the war on terrorism. We train them by showing them the essentials of marksmanship, first aid, close quarters combat and how to fight and win on the battlefield.

I usually work from 10-14 hours each day. Some days are pretty routine while others get rather exciting. The other day, for example, we were on patrol and one of the vehicles was hit with an IED explosive device. While no one was badly hurt, the vehicle was totally destroyed. We traced back the command detonation cord for about 300 yards and found where the terrorist had actually “holed up” with blankets, cigarettes, and an extra battery for the trigger mechanism. He was just waiting for a good target to pass by so he could explode the device.

As far as living conditions, we are in shelters that are like connex containers. We have a bunk, wall locker, showers and a latrine (bathroom). We also have a mess hall (Army restaurant) and the food is good. We are going into the summer so it will be really hot and that takes a lot out of you, especially when we are on foot patrols.”

When I asked Nathan about the All Volunteer Army he said, “It separates the boys from the men. Weigh all of your options if you are thinking about enlisting and think about what you want in life…and then go for it. The Army has been great for me. It has taught me basic leadership skills to prepare me for my dream job of being Captain with the Rockwall Fire Department when I get out next year.”

Now here is a young man who knows where he wants to be in life and is vigorously working towards that goal. Tell him, and all his buddies, thanks and good luck when you get the chance.

Jerry Hogan can be reached at jerryhogan@sbcglobal.net or 214-394-4033. His web site is www.themilitaryview.com

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