Former ‘Idol' Contestant Serves In Khost
(April 15, 2010)
Army Pfc. Cody Anderson takes a pause from his duties in the
brigade tactical operations center at Forward Operating Base Salerno in
Afghanistan's Khost province.
||KHOST PROVINCE, Afghanistan, April 12, 2010
– Join the Marines and see the world? Check.
Enlist in the Army to serve with the famous
Rakkasan Brigade from the 101st Airborne
Division? Check. Sing on American Idol? Check.
Have a mother who's a movie star? Check.
Almost unbelievable, these events are part of
the life story of Army Pfc. Cody Anderson, 25, a
communications equipment operator for the 101st
Airborne Division's Headquarters and
Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade, stationed at
Forward Operating Base Salerno here.
As a member of the operations section for the
brigade tactical operations center, Anderson's
primary duties include operating a variety of
secure radio systems and managing information
from the computer system that keeps Task Force
Rakkasan up to date with the latest tactical
information. But that's just his day job.
Anderson also has other talents that reach far
beyond typical ideas many people have of
soldiers. He learned to sing at an early age, a
credit to the creativity of his family when he
was growing up in Hemet, Calif., just north of
“I love to sing,” he said. “I come from a very
talented family. My mom was an actress, and my
dad sings - my siblings [too].
It's no surprise that Anderson was a recording artist.|
“A buddy and I came out with a CD about six years ago while I was going to
school,” he said. “It wasn't too big, but it did pretty well. I was into
acoustic pop, you know, just me and a buddy and a guitar. We used to do little
gigs and shows around Salt Lake [City].”
The CD, titled “The Assumptions That Will Fail Us,” was inspired by the duo's
challenges in “dealing with new emotions and new relationships -- stuff we
hadn't dealt with before,” Anderson said. “We were both getting over heartaches
at 19 years old, so that phrase had to go along with love and relationships.”
In July 2008, Anderson and his sister, Jenna Anderson, tried out for “American
Idol” when the hit TV show conducted auditions in Salt Lake City, but they
didn't get the “golden ticket” to Hollywood.
“I believe we did good, but as far as I know, we were not featured on the
televised episode,” he said. “We weren't featured guests, but my parents called
me up screaming one day that they had seen us [on television],” he said. “I had
already been kicked off, so I really wasn't excited.”
But since his mother had been on television before, her joy was understandable.
His mother, Dana (Kimmell) Anderson, became known while starring in the 1982
horror film “Friday the 13th, Part 3” as the person who killed Jason.
Though he's a talented singer with an actress as a mother, Anderson decided to
forgo a career as a performer to join the military. His desire to serve his
country was so strong he joined the Marines at 17 while still in high school. He
was medically discharged from the Marines after two and a half years, he said,
but he knew his military service wasn't complete.
“My obligation to the nation wasn't fulfilled yet, so since the Marines weren't
accepting the prior service back, I tried for the Army,” he said. “I had nothing
against the Army, and I was infantry in the Marines and I wanted to be infantry
Between his service in the Marines and joining the Army, Anderson enrolled at
LDS Business College in Salt Lake City, but transferred to Brigham Young
University after a year. He stayed in school for awhile, but the call to return
to military service was hard to ignore, he said.
“It was really itching me that I needed to fulfill my obligation, and I kind of
left before I finished [school],” he said. “But I'm going to go back and
finish.” With about three more semesters to go before completing his bachelor's
degree, he added, he plans to return to school at Utah Valley University to
study history, with an emphasis on American military history.
Anderson said his parents have been very supportive of his second military
career as an infantryman, a fact that gives him strength as he reflects on his
accomplishments so far. He doesn't regret his time in the Marine Corps, he
added, but sees his new job here with Task Force Rakkasan as a challenge he
“I never deployed with the Marine Corps, so that's one of the reasons I'm [in
Afghanistan] right now,” he said. “I still had a sense of duty that I needed to
fulfill. I'm very grateful to be here. I feel like every person should serve
their country, and so I gave up my cozy little lifestyle just so I can be here
and contribute to this cause,” he said.
Article and photo By
Army Maj. S. Justin Platt, Task Force Rakkasan
American Forces Press Service
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