Two Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 7th Warrior Training Brigade, 7th Civil Support Command returned from their deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn Nov. 2.
Maj. Robert Crawford, commander of the 88th Chaplain Detachment, and Staff Sgt. Joel H. Trammell Jr., the noncommissioned officer in charge, deployed to Forward Operating Base Camp Bucca, Iraq, with the 1st Infantry Division in January 2010 to assist with religious activities there.
The Soldiers flew into Ramstein and were welcomed home by members of the command group and special staff. From there, the two Soldiers were brought to the 7th CSC headquarters on Daenner Kaserne where everyone from the unit was waiting to officially welcome them home.
“I felt gratitude that the 7th CSC was there to greet us as we stepped out of the van,” Sergeant Trammell said. “After being gone for so long it was great to see the folks again.”
Sergeant Trammell was awarded an Army Commendation Medal by the 1st Infantry Division for his performance in Iraq, along with a Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
“It was an experience that I will never forget,” he said. “Helping so many people and working with different cultures is something that only happens in most people’s lives once.
“We had the chance to see so many things,” Sergeant Trammell continued. “We assisted with suicide intervention, Bible studies, music for Sunday services and even helped set up the choir.”
The 88th Chaplain Det.’s mission while based out of Camp Bucca was to support the training mission and restoration of Umm Qasr Port in Iraq. This allowed Major Crawford and Sergeant Trammell the opportunity to meet with local nationals and other servicemembers during their deployment.
“The real work was with Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen — helping them deal with the stresses of combat and being separated from their families,” said Major Crawford, who received a Bronze Star while downrange.
Major Crawford said he will always recall some very unique challenges and some very memorable events.
One of these events was the donation of a Camp Bucca flag to the widow of New York City Fire Marshal Ronald Bucca who died at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and who Camp Bucca is named after. Major Crawford
presided over the Memorial Service held at Camp Bucca Sept. 11.
“Serving as an area unit ministry team working alongside of not only Army but Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Ugandans, we were able to move around and see operations from a variety of perspectives,” Major Crawford said. “It was a great opportunity for both of us.”
Although the two Army Reserve Soldiers are in processing and getting accustomed to life back in Germany, they will never forget their deployment and the impact the 88th Chaplain Det. had throughout Camp Bucca.
“I was fortunate to be a member of the best FOB, work in the best chapel and work with the best chaplain,” Sergeant Trammell said. “It just doesn’t get any better than that.”