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Military

By Army Spc. Adrian Muehe

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Two Soldiers, Two Wars, One Bond
(September 15, 2010)

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JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (Sept. 12, 2010) — The people soldiers meet in the Army can leave lasting impressions. Relationships formed on the battlefield are often brought back home. The men and women who decide to wear the uniform find themselves in extraordinary situations that create these bonds.
Capt. Cameron Strange, Aide-de-Camp for the commading general of the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Sgt. Gregory Ruske, the CG's driver with the 103rd ESC, pose for a photo, Sept. 4, 2010 out side thier office at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. This is the second time these two Soldiers have worked together on a deployment, they previously were assinged to the same truck in Afghanistan while working for the 101st Airborne Division in 2008.
Capt. Cameron Strange, Aide-de-Camp for the commading general of the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Sgt. Gregory Ruske, the CG's driver with the 103rd ESC, pose for a photo, Sept. 4, 2010 out side thier office at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. This is the second time these two Soldiers have worked together on a deployment, they previously were assinged to the same truck in Afghanistan while working for the 101st Airborne Division in 2008.
 These connections can also lead to more work opportunities, or even a second deployment. Such is the case for Sgt. Gregory Ruske, an infantryman currently serving as the commanding general's driver for the 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Colorado Springs, Colo., native.

Ruske, a Silver Star recipient, was asked to cross-level to the 103rd ESC to deploy as the general's driver by his former truck commander Capt. Cameron Strange, the CG's Aide-de-Camp, and a Leavenworth, Kan., native.

“I got a call from him [Strange] asking me if I wanted to deploy to Iraq,” said Ruske. “He said it would be low key this time, no fighting, no patrols, just driving the general around.”

Strange said he was selected as an aid for Brig. Gen. Mark Corson, the commanding general of the 103rd ESC, and was then tasted tasked with putting together a team.

“They were unsure as to who would be the driver,” said Strange. “My rule is that, if I can work for someone I want to work for, or have someone work for me that I want, I do it. Ruske is my guy.”
The two Soldiers' paths first crossed at Fire Base Morales-Frasier, Afghanistan, in 2008, where a then Spc. Ruske, an individual augmentee, found himself in the vehicle of a then 1st Lt. Strange with Company A, Division Special Troops Battalion, 101st Airborne Division.

It wasn't just Ruske's Silver Star that prompted Strange to ask him to fill this position, but rather the merit and talents that he displayed as a specialist patrolling outside the wire every day on his last deployment.

“We had been in many combat situations before, and I know that if
he found himself in a similar situation again, he won't be fumbling around or hesitant,” said Strange. “There were times in Afghanistan that I survived solely because he was covering my backside. If not for him, I don't think I would be here today.”
The admiration goes both ways. There were many factors that Ruske took into consideration when volunteering to join the 103rd ESC on this deployment. One was simply because the call asking him to go was made by Strange.

“He was with me through a lot of the fights we were in,” said Ruske. “He keeps his cool, yet he's aggressive, and he knows his stuff. He was never afraid to get out of the vehicle and pursue enemies, or set up an ambush. I really respect him as a leader on the ground and I will gladly follow him anywhere.”

While mutual respect, admiration, and the chance to work with a familiar face was a huge factor in reuniting on this tour of duty, many personal reasons brought them both here.

“The way I look at it, what I have been able to accomplish, and what my family has been able to accomplish, is by the good graces of this country,” said Ruske. “The opportunities I've been given, my college education, I've only been able to achieve because of the freedoms we have. I see this as chipping away at the little bit of debt I owe to my country.”

Strange said he left his unit while in Afghanistan to become a general's aid because he sees it as a stepping stone toward one of his main career goals, returning to active duty.

“I've known Gen. Corson since he was a colonel,” said Strange. “I've seen how he and his staff operate and I knew that was a team I wanted to be a part of. He's also the guy that can help me get out of the reserves and back to active duty.”

Looking into the future, both of the men will go their separate ways, but their paths may cross again one day. Coming out of this deployment they both are looking to make changes to their careers. Strange aspires to go to active duty, while Ruske will be looking for another position, or even taking a commission using the degree he earned after coming off active duty in 2001.

“I'm thinking it's time that I start looking for another niche that I fit into better,” Ruske joked about how his career path has taken him through different levels of command. “This deployment has definitely been a learning experience. I got to do and see a lot of stuff I would have never got to do at the level I was at.”

Article and photo by Army Spc. Adrian Muehe
103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command
Copyright 2010

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