S: Afghanistan Deployment (OEF) - July 6, 2010 thru July 8, 2011
FC: Afghanistan Bound | Operation Enduring Freedom | SGT Rachel Garcowski | July 6, 2010 thru July 8, 2011 | From The Beginning To The End of An Afghanistan Deployment
1: Being a Soldier was my passion, where my heart was. In January of 2006, I started working out at Fitworks where I met my trainer, Bill. He helped me accomplish my goals and by September of 2006, I met all height and weight requirements and enlisted in the Ohio Army National Guard. In February of 2007, I went off to basic training ad AOT as a Chemical Operations Specialists. After battling height and weight issues and PT delays, I pushed throguh my weaknesses and eventually got my SGT in December of 2009. | Almost three years later, July 9, 2010, I was officially deployed to FOB Sharana, Afghanistan, where I spent 10 months fulfilling my dream of being a Soldier. During my deployment, I served as the BN PAO NCOIC. What does this mean? Let's just say I had alot of responsibility, but I was given an opportunity to travel all over the country meeting over 800 Soldiers from my BN and finding stories to write about them. These Soldiers were from NY, SC, UT, MS, and MI. Battling those who do not like us, I stood by my job as a United States Army Soldier. I want to thank my parents, Gary and Carmie, my brothers, Jason and Ryan, and all my other family and friends for their unlimited love and support they have given me. Knowing I have family at home who supports me as I serve in a war zone, makes my job 1000 times easier. This is what I signed up to do and I am doing it so you don't have to. "I am an American Soldier," & I love every minute of it. SGT Rachel Garcowski
2: PPMT 2/27/10 thru 3/28/10 | It all started in 2008 when the 112th EN Bn, based out of Brook Park, OH was told we were going to deploy. After three intensive SRPs (Soldiers readiness program), we were almost ready to head overseas. SPRs consisted of shots, dental checks, medical reviews, hearing and vision checks, and administrative things such as pay, maritial status, and banking information. Following the SRPs,we had to participate in intensice field training. To start out, we headed to Camp Perry, near Sandusky | where we learned numerous weapon systems, qualified with M-4 rifles, and particiapted in night fire excersizes. After two weeks, we were then transferred to Camp Ravenna, in Ravenna, Ohio. Here is where more of the combat training actually took place. We participated in everything from vehicle rollovers (flipped upside down and had to get out), field tactics, ECPs (inspection check points), convoy tactics, IED recognitions, mounted and | dismounted battle drills, and land navigation, just to name a few. After validation of over 200 tasks, we were finally ready to head over to Afghanistan. Fortunately, from March thru July, our schedule was pretty mellow, allowing us to spend quality time with family and friends before we officially departed. I enjoyed my time with a week long trip to Mexico.
3: My brother, mom, Jenn, and Aunt Chris | Charlotte and I | The | The outpoor of donations I received!! Thanks | On June 19, 2010, I decided to have a going away party. Here I collected items for the troops and made my own care packages. With everyones donations, I collected enough for 10 boxes and over $200 to help send care packages to those in need. It was a great success. | My Aunt Herminia made her oh so yummy Mexican cake that I waited months for. It was so good that everyone ate it so fast, I barely got a piece. | The next morning, my Uncle Joe and his g/f Jenn, MG, andthe 5 of us woke up early to head out to Mexico on a family vacation. What a morning that was, but it was well worth it.
4: Sgt. Rachel Garcowski, 25, of North Royalton, said she was "nervous but excited" about her deployment. Her mother, Carmie Garcowski, said, "I'm worried, but she's doing what she wants." She added that the ceremony offered a similar, important sentiment for the troops --"They need to see that everybody's behind them." Cleveland Plain Dealer - July 7, 2010 | Call To Duty Ceremony held July 7, 2010 Nautica Pavillion downtown Cleveland
5: ARMY STRONG | ARMY | Saying my good-byes to some great friends one last time. Stating at the top and going clockwise, Thersa, Carolina, my niece Elizabeth and my Best Friend Emily. This is the day that we found out Lebron James decided he was going to leave Cleveland and play for Miami. | July 8, 2010
6: OUR HERO | July 9th, 2010 was my last day at Brook Park. I had to say goodbye to my family as we waved goodbye and the city escorted us through the city to the airport. This was one of the last times I got to see my Grandmother before she passed away during my deployment. It aws also her 91st b-day. Happy Birthday Grandma!!
7: Saying Good-Bye | After saying good-bye to our families, we loaded up on the buses and headed to the airport. I was doing pretty well when I said my good-byes until I saw my friend, SSG Eric Sheets crying while he said bye to his sister. This was the beginning of our journey. Above are pictures from the airport loading our plane and preparing for take-off.
8: Upon our arrival into Fort McCoy on the 9th, we hauled our gear up to our barracks and prepared for the next day. July 10-12 we were faced with the unbearable lines, as over 200 Soldiers waited for admin and medical. Pictures show the lines. | To deploy, we were required to get anthrax and small pox shots. YUK. After those two stations, we then received new vests and other misc deployment gear we would need. To the left is a picture of myself and CPL Colarik, who later became my partner in crime as the other 112th BN PAO.