PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Afghanistan (10/30/12) – Sgt. Bradley Toman
looks back at the last 12 years of his military career with fond
memories and an encouraging way ahead for his family and his
October 23, 2012 - Sgt. Bradley Toman a native of Davison, Mich., who serves with the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team,1st Infantry Division in eastern Afghanistan. Toman enlisted in the Army as a combat engineer. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Nick Morales, Task
Force 4-1 PAO
Toman, a native of Davison, Mich., enlisted in the Army in 1998
as a carpenter and mason, and was in the heart of Washington during
the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
He recalls the event as if it
“I was standing outside watching over in the
Pentagon area. I saw black smoke over there and immediately realized
there weren't any factories over there,” said Toman.
inside the office and that's when I found out the Pentagon got hit.”
Assigned to the White House Communications Agency, Toman had a
unique job, one that we all seen during a presidential address or a
press conference at the White House.
“I used to design, build and refurbish presidential podiums, and
any special cabinet needs that the President needed, I would build
them, knock them out and get them done,” he said.
Toman decided to leave the Army and pursue a career as a civilian
carpenter. A couple of years later he still had a void that he
“When I got out, I knew I had a lot and knew a lot was
going on for me in the Army, but when I got out I realized
exactly how much. I loved it before and it just made me love
it that much more,” said Toman.
Family is a big part
of what keeps Toman focused here in
Afghanistan. The support of his wife and daughter on his
decision to return to active duty was the only thing he
“After things started to fall apart, my
father had passed away. My wife Patricia told me to do
whatever made me happy, and the only thing that really made
me happy was my time in the Army,” said Toman.
wife helped out his decision with a little more than just
some encouraging words.
“She knew what my answer was
going to be, so she went to the recruiter a week prior and
started the dialogue on my behalf,” said Toman. “So when we
decided to go down to the recruiter's office and I stepped
into the office they addressed me as Sgt. Toman and all I
had to do was sign the paperwork.”
Now on his second
deployment, Toman is making a direct impact as a
non-commissioned officer in a route clearance patrol
platoon, tasked with the mission to find and destroy IED's.
A true leader, Toman, despite his accolades and
accomplishments stays grounded and engaged with his Soldiers
“The things that I will remember
about this deployment are the guys -- training them, getting
trained and teaching them about the job. Their lives are in
my hands,” said Toman.
He's decided that he will
stay in the military and retire. He also said his family is
extremely proud of what he does.
“When I went home to
my grandpa, I noticed he had a tear in his eye for the first
time that I can remember; he told me ‘you're doing a good
job son.' That meant the world to me,” said Toman.
By Army Staff Sgt. Nick Morales
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