1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
From the Friday, December 16 Killeen Daily Herald:
By Emily Baker
Killeen Daily Herald
WEST FORT HOOD The frightening transition from being a teenager to adulthood means balancing a checkbook,
paying bills, getting to work on time and, for some, fighting a war.
While many of their peers struggle to find what direction in life theyd like to take,
two of the 4th Infantry Division's youngest soldiers left for the Middle East on Thursday.
Pvt. Javier Benavides completed advanced individual training, the job-specific training soldiers receive after basic training, seven weeks ago.
He turned 18 in February and graduated from high school only six months ago.
"Everybody wishes they could be a kid again," said Benavides of the 404th Aviation Support Battalion.
"But I can't wish I could be a kid again to get out of this. I don't want to."
Benavides and Pfc. Christo-pher Bussaeus, who turned 18 in July, long ago decided they wanted to be soldiers. Neither was deterred by the war in Iraq.
"The way I see it, someone has to do it," said Bussaeus
of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
"I've been thinking about it since I was 6 years old," he said.
Both soldiers said their families are proud but worried.
"They're sad I have to leave," said Benavides, a California native.
Bussaeus said he calmed his families fears by connecting them with soldiers who had deployed before.
Bussaeus, who grew up in Florida, has also encouraged several of his friends to join the Army, too.
A few of Benavides friends have joined. He said they came to the same conclusion he did,
that the military is a solution to the typical "what am I going to do with my life" questions that have to be answered.
"Yeah, its a risk," Benavides said of his decision to join. "But in the end, it's all worth it. I'll always have a steady paycheck,
and I won't have a problem providing for my family some day. It has really set me on the right path."
Neither really knows what to expect when they cross into Iraq. Thoughts of everything from flying bullets as soon as they arrive
to conditions being calmer than they've seen on TV have run through their minds.
"I'm just going to stay calm, don't panic," Benavides said. "I'm going to stay level-headed about things."
Thursday's flight of about 150 soldiers was the 4th Infantry's last major planeload to leave for the deployment to Iraq,
which is expected to last for a year. The division's soldiers began leaving in September.
Contact Emily Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2005 - Killeen Daily Herald
From the 12-21-05 Fort Hood Herald put out by the Killeen Daily Herald:
soldiers plan Christmas on two fronts
By Emily Baker
Fort Hood Herald
Pfc. Thomas Mortimore, of Headquarters
and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment,
1st Brigade Combat Team,
married his sweetheart Dec. 2 and celebrated Christmas with her before flying to Kuwait Dec. 15.
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