Focused, Flexible, Fired Up
Today's Guard units adapt quickly to mission changes because of ever-evolving needs overseas.
The armored Humvees are rumbling out two at a time.
"Truck, ten o'clock, five hundred meters!" The driver acknowledges, and the gunner aims. "On the way!" the gunner says. The M240 Bravo machine gun blasts pierce the air and reverberate in the chest. Precision is paramount. They must distinguish hostile trucks from friendly ones, make sure their cross-talk is clear and, ultimately, put lead on target. For C Company, adjusting is a way of life by now. "It's second nature," says Specialist Drew Stallard.
The 4/118th, preparing for deployment, has seen its mission change several times since 2010. Despite all the shifts in orders, the Soldiers have kept their focus on the cause and placed the overall mission first. C Company reveals the degree of dedication, Soldier by Soldier, that's required in a modern-day deployment — to the mission and to each other.
"I think it has only enhanced the unit cohesion, because the difficulties in having a change of mission and the unknowns help us reinforce our 'tribe' and family mentality," says Specialist Nathan Otto.
They come from all walks of life — project managers, schoolteachers, college students, truck drivers — and they're all bound to one another in a way that only Soldiers can truly understand. With ever-changing conditions in the Middle East, the 4/118th serves as an example of today's National Guard at its strongest and most flexible.
Time and again, the Soldiers of C Company mention the same word, echoed by Private First Class Kate McGrath. "It really is a brotherhood."