Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Day 48 - Commander's Corner

To Family and Friends of the Mississippi Rifles:

We pay tribute to our fallen comrades:

SPC Robert McNail
B Company/150 EN (attached to 1-155 Infantry Battalion)

SPC Jospeh Rahaim
A Company/1-155 Infantry Battalion

SGT Timothy Osbey
Headquarter and Headquarters Company/1-155 Infantry Battalion

SPC Robert McNail was a member of B Company, 150 EN BN. His platoon has been attached to our battalion since the first of February. He passed away on February 12, 2005, from injuries sustained in a military vehicle accident.

SPC Joseph Rahaim and SGT Timothy Osbey were both conducting a patrol in a hostile area. Their vehicle was traveling on a levee road. The dirt road shifted and their vehicle turned over. Both passed away on February 16, 2005.

SPC McNail, SPC Rahaim, and SGT Osbey were brave and courageous soldiers. We mourn their loss greatly and are reminded that all life is in the hands of the Lord. We will never forget their dedication and service to this country. They answered their nation’s call and lost their lives trying to provide a better life for the Iraqi people. They will be remembered many ways, but they will always be “Mississippi Rifleman” to us. We will continue to “STAND FAST” in their memory.

We only have a few soldiers that remain in Kuwait. The rest of the Battalion is now in Iraq. Some of our elements have been attached to other Battalions, however I maintain contact with them regularly. Now that the Marines have moved out, we have plenty of room. We are slowly improving our base camp. Our Internet Café and phones have been operational for the most part. We are trying to expand our Internet capability so we can maintain better communication back home. We are receiving mail now, so mail should no longer be an issue. We are receiving many packages from families, friends, and organizations back home. I thank all of you for your marvelous response to our needs. Our mess section has been doing a great job so we are now getting hot meals on a regular basis. We will continue to improve the conditions in our base camp for our soldiers but it will take time.

Our soldiers are doing a great job. Everyone is working hard, and we are doing our part to make this area more secure. Our soldiers are maintaining constant pressure on the Anti-Iraqi Forces. We are working with the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police on a daily basis. Our soldiers are providing them a great model to follow. Together, we will eliminate those who wish to cause this country harm. I cannot say enough how proud I am of our soldiers. Their morale is high and attitude is great. They have adapted well to the conditions and are very dedicated to the mission. We are proud to serve and will continue to do our duty.

Thank you for your continued support.

LTC John M. Rhodes
1-155 IN BN