Schofield honors soldiers for long Iraq duty
By William Cole
Advertiser Military Writer
The motto of the 65th Engineer Battalion is "First in, last out."
The battalion, as part of the 25th Infantry Division (Light), proved to be good to its word during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Five soldiers recognized by the full battalion yesterday were indeed the first in and last to return of the 107 Schofield Barracks soldiers sent to Iraq.
The five deployed with the 14th Engineer Battalion out of Fort Lewis, Wash., served in Iraq for six months, and returned this week.
"In late February 2003, these soldiers and noncommissioned officers volunteered to go serve their Army and their country," said Lt. Col. Andrew Jasaitis, the battalion's commander, at the ceremony.
"All did so knowing that they were putting themselves in harm's way. This embodies selfless service and is indicative of their commitment to this great nation of ours."
Seven soldiers were recognized by the battalion's three companies, with the addition of two 65th soldiers who returned from Iraq at the end of May or beginning of June and could not take part in a previous recognition ceremony.
The soldiers performed mine-clearing, guarded Iraqi prisoners and ammunition supply points and built weapons ranges. One of the soldiers, Sgt. Michael Stansbery, also served in the first Gulf War.
Also recognized were: Sgt. Robert Vial, Sgt. Christopher Jennings, Spc. Eric Burrola, Spc. Aaron Jones, Spc. Juan Muniz and Spc. William Rutherford.