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.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Day 200B - Birthday and Battalion Bashes

Every soldier I’ve talked to says being away from family is the toughest part of deployment.

Every day on vacation with my sister and her family, we prayed for Wayne and his buddies who have now passed the halfway mark in their 535 days of service. (Counting started when they reported to Camp Shelby last August.)

Teresa and Jay Maddox live in north Georgia with Wayne’s cousin, Sarah. We celebrated her 7th birthday during our trip, honoring her request for a takeout pizza buffet after our trek to the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine.

Wayne’s Aunt Teresa is Assistant Vice President for Global Training and Education at credit reporting giant Equifax, headquartered in Atlanta.

Uncle Jay is a regional sales representative for ProSet, Inc., a Louisiana-based company whose polyurea products are touted as the best waterproofing agent on the market. He also spearheads an effort urging officials to consider polyurea coatings as an effective lightweight alternative to steel plates for uparmoring Humvees and other military vehicles.

Over the weekend, Iraqi Security Forces and U.S. Soldiers from Wayne’s battalion captured 39 suspected insurgents during a raid in Sharmiyah. Among the detainees were those suspected of being key insurgent leaders in the area.

Eight of the 39 insurgents were detained on the grounds of the Mudjaherin al Ansar mosque by Hillah SWAT, a specialized Iraqi Police unit. The mosque was not damaged in the operation.

The other suspected insurgents were detained during a cordon and knock operation by U.S. Soldiers.

Commenting on the cooperative success, SFC Kevin Kelly said in his journal,
“I won't get into any of the details of the mission itself, but I will tell you that every mission we go on as a battalion seems to get better and better. It’s amazing the communication that happens between all the companies. If someone needs some help somewhere, the other company will jump right on it. Our HHC Company did an outstanding job of supporting all the line companies. It’s hard to just pinpoint one company on a mission like this because every single one of them has a mission and they perform that mission at 110%. I’ve said it many times, but you should be proud of the things that the 150TH EN BN are doing over here. I will end this paragraph by just saying, Quality over Quantity also defines mission success.”