A Dedication To Service

September 3, 2008

For the majority of our Troops, pride and dedication to our country is a motivating factor in their continuation to serve in our nations Armed Forces. Their commitment to their fellow service members and to our country is utmost in their mind. Even with the wars going on for the length of time that they have, most of our Service Members feel that it’s just part of the job, even though after several deployments, it tends to be emotionally and physically draining on them and their family members. Some, however, stand out from the sea of green camouflage in their dedication to the mission.

Army Cpl. Edward Helzer, a Laredo, Texas, native, mobilized for his second deployment to Iraq four days after he returned home from his first deployment. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Carmen Guerrero, Multinational Division Baghdad

Meet Cpl. Edward Helzer from Laredo, Texas. Helzer has been deployed continuously since 2006 and he finds satisfaction in that fact. During his first deployment in 2006, Helzer deployed with the 130th Engineer Battalion out of Puerto Rico. Currently he is serving with the 836th Sapper Company from Kingsville, Texas, which is attached to the 890th Engineer Battalion in Gulfport, Ms.

Helzer initially deployed in 2006 and returned home from his first deployment on October 26, 2007. He was only home for 4 short days, before he deployed again. I know many of you are probably thinking, “How can the Army do this to him?” and “I thought they were supposed to have ‘dwell’ time between deployments?” Helzer, however, volunteered for both of the deployments. By training he’s a general construction equipment operator. He’s now serving as a Combat Engineer during this tour and learning on the job. He’s driving his “Husky” or towing and mine detection vehicle down the same routes he drove down on his first deployment. Routes that are very familiar to him.

“In your mind, you’re alone; it can be mentally draining,” Helzer said about life as a Husky driver. “Without situational awareness, you can run into wire, holes, etc. You’re very mentally drained when coming off a mission.” 1

Despite the feeling of being alone, Helzer says that he feels safe when going on missions. He trusts his gunners to watch his back. Army Cpl Patrick Moore, also a member of 836th Sapper Company, said that Helzer is a team player and always concerned abou the safety and well being of his fellow Soldiers.

Helzer said that though things are very similar this deployment, there are some differences. He said that overall, the environment is cleaner and things are quieter now. He’s not encountering as many strikes and IED’s as he was on his previous mission in Baghdad.

Helzer is married and has been for three years. Often, deployments are very difficult for the family members left behind, especially the children. Helzer says that his wife and children are okay with his decision to deploy all of this time, because they receive a constant supply of support from family members and friends at home. He explains that his father in law is a pastor, so that with the support from family and friends in church, support for his spouse and his children is never ending. Despite missing is family, Helzer is very satisfied in his role as a Soldier.

“It’s nice at the end of the day,” he said. “There is a satisfaction in knowing you’ve done well for yourself and others. It’s rewarding.”2

This young man’s dedication and willingness to put his country before everything else is amazing. Our military is made up of many men and women such as this, who put their country before their families and before themselves. People such as this, make me damn proud to be an American citizen.

  1. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=51000 []
  2. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=51000 []


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