March 20, 2012 - Spc. Grant M. Allen, 3rd Squad, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company,
2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, age
22, of Highland, Calif., was responsible for pulling security and
helping engineers with the building of a road in Kandahar province,
Afghanistan, recently. Photo by Army Sgt. Harold McGill
ZHARAY DISTRICT, Afghanistan (4/7/2012) -- Soldiers from Charlie
Company, 2nd Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne
Division braved both extremely warm and cold temperatures,
sandstorms, and bitter winds March 18-20 to help begin a road
building project in Zharay district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
One of the soldiers who played a key role in the mission was
Spc. Grant M. Allen, age 22, of Highland, Calif. As a member of 3rd
Squad, 1st Platoon, Charlie Company, Allen was responsible for
pulling security and helping engineers with the actual building of
Allen, who is on his first deployment, says he
became an Infantryman because he feels this is one of the vital
parts of the military.
He says that as the economy slowed
down he needed to find other work options and also needed a change
of pace in his personal life.
“I was just being a kid. Maybe
having a little too much fun and wanted the structure that the
military could offer,” said Allen.
His prior experience as an
ironworker had Allen ready for the physical challenges presented at
One-Station Unit Training and those that come from being Infantry.
When asked how he felt about his job, his response was simple.
“I love it,” said Allen.
His love for his job has led Allen
to consider making the military a career. Even if he doesn't, he
says he has already gotten a lot out of his military experience.
He feels that the structure and discipline he has experienced
coupled with other things he has learned can be used to make him a
person no matter what he does with his future. Allen's efforts don't
go unnoticed by his leadership.
“He has set himself above his peers by
taking charge real early,” said Staff Sgt. Matthew D.
Hawkland who is from Baltimore, Md. and is Allen's squad
“He has a thirst for knowledge and is very
motivated,” he added. “He tries to pick those up around him.
He keeps the guys motivated and positive. He's always
looking at the small victories and helping take their minds
off of challenging situations.”
First Lt. Thomas
“Mac” Brinker the platoon leader for 1st platoon echoed
“Spc. Allen takes guidance
from his squad leader and turns it into action,” said
Brinker. “He is on top of it.”
While the overall goal
of the mission was to build the road in hopes of increasing
stability and security for the Afghans, Allen said he hopes
the mission accomplishes more than that.
“If it helps
U.S. forces get from one place to another on a secured route
it makes me feel good because I know a lot of my brothers
will come home safe and it could help guys in my company
make it home from their deployment,” he said.
on to add that he feels it makes a big difference for the
U.S. troops to be out working among the local population.
“They will push Taliban out and it will help us win
the hearts and minds of civilians,” Allen said.
said that military life does present frustrations but said
keeping certain things in mind can go a long way in dealing
“You signed a contract to serve your
country and there is always a higher purpose for what you
are doing,” Allen said.
Allen's love for his job is
something that plays a big role in what he considers an
important factor in making this a successful deployment.
“Doing our job and what we came out here to do and then
having all my boys come home to see their families would
make this a success for me,” he said.
After being out
for 60 hours pulling security, sleeping on the open ground
and helping to build a fence, Allen was given a little bit
of time off. He had time to clean up and reorganize his gear
before starting a 6-hour guard shift. He seemed all too
happy to get back to work.
By Army Sgt. Harold McGill
319th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
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