“The Military View” column: Another Rockwall Soldier in Iraq

Jerry Hogan

“The Military View” column by Jerry Hogan, US Army Lieutenant Colonel (retired). One of the really neat things about writing articles featuring local men and women who are serving in the military, is the opportunity to get to know them a little better and in some cases, even get to know their parents.

Gerald Noblin and his wife Melody moved to Rockwall a year ago from Mississippi and I recently learned they have two sons who are serving our country. One son, Jack, is a West Point graduate and is currently on his second tour of duty in Iraq. The other son, Jim, is currently a senior at West Point graduating in May of next year. Both sons intend to serve in the US Army’s famous 1st Cavalry Division.

Captain Jack Noblin graduated from West Point in 2005 and attended the basic course at Fort Sill, Oklahoma graduating in July of 2006. Then it was down to Fort Hood, Texas, where he was assigned to the Air Cavalry Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division. This Brigade is composed of four Battalions of both Attack and Utility/Transport helicopters that are used to move Soldiers around the battlefield.

You probably have seen pictures of the “Apache” attack helicopter as well as the “Blackhawk” utility and CH-47 “Chinook” transport helicopters, on the evening news or in the newspapers.  The Apache, for example, was originally designed as an anti-tank weapons system and was first brought into the service in 1986. It carries a crew of two, pilot and gunner, who sit in a tandem arrangement in the plane. The plane was designed with an all-weather, night vision system that can engage the enemy in almost any condition on the battlefield.  It carries a 30mm cannon that fires 65 rounds a minute and also has three different missile systems that can be used. The plane is heavily armored with redundant systems that make it very survivable in combat. It is also fast and for the gunner to fire the main cannon weapon, all he has to do is look at the target through his helmet visual system and the gun automatically tracks the target. This helicopter is a very effective weapon in combat and has been very successful in every combat situation it has been in since it was first introduced into the Army.

This Aviation Brigade that Captain Noblin is a part of was specifically designed by the Army to provide the lifting capability and protection for the Soldiers of this highly mobile Division.

His stay in Fort Hood after graduating from the basic course however was pretty short, as after only being there for three months, the unit deployed to Iraq where Captain Noblin spent the next 15 months. While in-country he was the Executive Officer of the Headquarters Company of the Brigade and was responsible for the Brigade Force Protection and Area Defense Operations Center. He led a 250 man guard force that secured the airfield and some of the adjacent buildings as well as controlling the access into the base.

Since all of the Soldiers today are from the All Volunteer Army, I asked him what he might want to say about this force. In his words, “I think this is the most honorable organization a person could join. This is the only organization that puts Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage as its bedrock. Although we have lost fallen brothers, and our families pay a great price with all of the deployments and separations, this is the most professional and combat tested army the world has seen. I have been in the Army now for about four years and it really is what I thought it was going to be. I knew I was about to enter a profession where honor, courage, and loyalty were paramount. I love the men and women I have deployed with and am so proud to be a part of this organization.”

Returning to the States in early 2008, Captain Noblin made the decision that he wanted to become an Army aviator and pilot the Apache aircraft. Unfortunately his eyesight was 20/200 and to fly, it had to be 20/20. So, like the hard-charging warrior that he is, he decided he needed to get his eyes fixed so he could pass the physical. It was laser eye surgery performed by the Army at Fort Hood and now his eyes are 20/15, above the standard needed for flying these attack helicopters on the battlefield. But before he could apply and get to flight school, it was another deployment to Iraq; he and his unit left in April of this year.

On this deployment, he will be in the Operations shop and will provide Fire Support coordination and will assist in planning missions for the aircraft as well as tracking all aircraft from the Tactical Operations Center, the hub of activity when planes are in the air. This time, because of the draw-down of the war, they are scheduled to only be in-country for 12 months. Upon his return he hopes to go to Fort Rucker, Alabama, for basic helicopter training and then transition to the Apache attack helicopter.

Captain Noblin and his wife, Emily, were married just a year ago this month. As you can see from his deployment and training schedule, sometimes it is very difficult for Soldiers to schedule in some of the “normal” things that we civilians just take for granted. While he is deployed, his wife is living in the Fort Hood area. Since the Army has established “Family Assistance Groups” to assist the soldiers’ loved ones while they are deployed, and since Captain Noblin’s parents live in the Rockwall area, Emily does have more help, if needed, than most service families. Please go out of your way to help the families of any of our deployed warriors and please don’t forget to thank both them and their spouses for their service.

Jerry Hogan is a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel who can be reached at jerryhogan@sbcglobal.net or 214-394-4033. His web site is www.themilitaryview.com

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1 Response for ““The Military View” column: Another Rockwall Soldier in Iraq”

  1. Maryellin santiago says:

    Send our thoughts to Jack that he is safe

    MaryEllin and Zoe

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