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Pfc. Deana Rezkala, 21, weighs just 110 pounds but tries her hand as an artilleryman — a job that involves lifting 98-pound shells fired by Paladin Howitzers — at the 2nd Infantry Division’s career fair on Wednesday.

Pfc. Deana Rezkala, 21, weighs just 110 pounds but tries her hand as an artilleryman — a job that involves lifting 98-pound shells fired by Paladin Howitzers — at the 2nd Infantry Division’s career fair on Wednesday. (Seth Robson / S&S)

Pfc. Deana Rezkala, 21, weighs just 110 pounds but tries her hand as an artilleryman — a job that involves lifting 98-pound shells fired by Paladin Howitzers — at the 2nd Infantry Division’s career fair on Wednesday.

Pfc. Deana Rezkala, 21, weighs just 110 pounds but tries her hand as an artilleryman — a job that involves lifting 98-pound shells fired by Paladin Howitzers — at the 2nd Infantry Division’s career fair on Wednesday. (Seth Robson / S&S)

14th MP Detachment soldier Sgt. Brian Landis, 24, of Romney, W. Va., puts his military working dog, four-year-old Bleck, through his paces.

14th MP Detachment soldier Sgt. Brian Landis, 24, of Romney, W. Va., puts his military working dog, four-year-old Bleck, through his paces. (Seth Robson / S&S)

Sgt. Kevin Cherry, of Monroe, La., performs a James Brown number.

Sgt. Kevin Cherry, of Monroe, La., performs a James Brown number. (Seth Robson / S&S)

2-9 soldiers storm a "bunker" Wednesday at the 2nd ID career fair.

2-9 soldiers storm a "bunker" Wednesday at the 2nd ID career fair. (Seth Robson / S&S)

CAMP CASEY, SOUTH KOREA — The Army forbids women from serving as artillery soldiers.

And Pfc. Deana Rezkala, 21, weighs just 110 pounds.

Still, the Greenville, S.C., native thought she might want to try her hand as an artilleryman — which requires lifting 98-pound howitzer shells.

Rezkala was among hundreds of 2nd Infantry Division soldiers, sergeants and below, who checked out various Army jobs during a career fair at Camp Casey’s Carey Fitness Center on Wednesday.

Area I Sgt. Maj. Yolanda Lomax, on a panel assessing the fair’s best displays, said the event was to show soldiers different Army jobs. “It affords them the opportunity of retention and re- enlistment options and gives them a broader perspective of what the Army has to offer,” she said.

Rezkala said she already lifts heavy equipment with the 4th Chemical Company and sees no reason why women shouldn’t be artillery soldiers. “When the adrenaline is pumping you can lift more,” she said, after struggling to raise one of the heavy shells.

But for Rezkala, the job fair lived up to its purpose. She said she saw at least one other job she’d like to try: working with Military Police dogs — as Sgt. Brian Landis, 24 of Romney, W.Va., does.

The 14th MP Detachment soldier was putting his military working dog, 4-year-old Bleck, through his paces. Moments earlier, the MPs had showcased working dogs’ skills subduing a soldier in a “bite suit,” Landis said.

In addition to taking down bad guys, the dogs can sniff out explosives or drugs. In Iraq, they search vehicles at gates and patrol base perimeters, he added.

“Soldiers want to know how to become a dog handler … they have to become an MP first, then submit the paperwork and hope they are chosen,” Landis said.

Nearby, 1st Battalion 15th Field Artillery Regiment gunner Sgt. Donavan Mitchell, 27, of New Orleans, La., was taking a break after demonstrating howitzer drills with other crewmembers. “Soldiers want to try opening the breach and want to know how many rounds the gun can hold and how fast it goes,” he said.

Artillery work involves a lot of teamwork, he said. “That is what the Army is supposed to be about. You need to work as a team to send rounds down range. One man can’t do it.”

Another MP at the fair, from the 94th MP Battalion, wore all black and a face mask to conceal his identity. The MP said he is a member of the Special Reaction Team, the army’s equivalent of a SWAT (special weapons and tactics) team able to respond to armed offenders with a special black armored truck. The 2nd Engineer Battalion’s display was packed with equipment including simulated explosives, ditch diggers and ropes.

The 2nd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment display involved soldiers piling out of a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and simulating a machine gun attack on a bunker.

“The weapons are awesome,” said Sgt. Mustafa Hussaini, 26, of Springfield, Va., a supply soldier with Service Battery 1-15.

“When I came in I thought I was going to be in the field. ... I don’t like being behind a desk at all,” said Hussaini, originally from Afghanistan.

When it comes time for him to re-enlist in six months, he said, he plans to opt for infantry or Special Forces.

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Seth Robson is a Tokyo-based reporter who has been with Stars and Stripes since 2003. He has been stationed in Japan, South Korea and Germany, with frequent assignments to Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Australia and the Philippines.
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