Troops in Bosnia know their mission is important, too
March 25, 2003
CAMP McGOVERN, Bosnia and Herzegovina — Sgt. 1st Class Brian Cleveland was in the Army for only nine months when he got deployed to Kuwait for Operation Desert Storm.
This time around, he’s watching the war as a member of the Nebraska Army National Guard, performing peacekeeping duties in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Cleveland, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop 1st Squadron, 67th Cavalry Regiment, is one of many Nebraska Guard troops who have deployed to the Persian Gulf.
The recently arrived troops are still getting familiar with the Bosnian countryside. But there is already a familiarity with what they are seeing on TV.
After serving in Kuwait, guarding Camp Doha and Patriot missile batteries, as a National Guardsman from June to October 2001, Capt. Robert Ford said he is able to recognize many of the “undisclosed locations” from which he sees CNN reporting.
Sgt. Paul Langford, of Cedar Creek, Neb., was with Ford in Kuwait.
He said he “got hit hard” when he heard about American soldiers hurt in a helicopter crash in Iraq.
“I’m a medic. I wish I’d been there,” Langford said.
And he is not the only one.
Cleveland keeps looking for 3rd Infantry Division patches, hoping to see one of his former soldiers on television.
“I sort of feel I should be there with them,” Cleveland said. “I am missing out on finishing the job (from) when I was there 12 years ago. I spent two years training these guys and now they’re there doing the job and I’m not there.”
Yet all are glad to be doing the job in Bosnia.
“I feel like I’m at least doing something, doing a small part,” Langford said.
Ford points out the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment coat of arms on the wall of a cafe at Camp McGovern. The cavalry unit under 3rd Infantry Division served in Bosnia two years ago and is now fighting the war in Iraq.
Somebody has to do the job in Bosnia, so that units such as 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment could fight the war, Ford said.
“I take care of soldiers and help soldiers and that’s what I’m doing now,” said Cleveland, a personnel services non-commissioned officer in charge.
“Whether we’re here or there, we’re making an impact.”