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Soldier Stories: The Little Things That Mean So Much

[Photos and article by Staff Sergeant Jason Epperson, 6 January 2012.]

U.S. Army Sgt. Adam M. Hale, an infantryman with B Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade (left), U.S. Army Sgt. Nicholaus A. Hale, a squad leader with C Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Capt. Rikki Salyers, of the Indiana National Guard’s 4-19th Agri-Business Development Team share a laugh after being reunited at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan on 7 January. The three siblings reunited after four years with help from Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, Regional Command East and Combined Joint Task Force-1 commanding general, who had received a letter from their father.

Though they are step-siblings, Salyers, a native of Oxford, Ind., stationed at FOB Salerno, refers to them as brothers. 

“Technically they’re my step-brothers, but I’ve never considered them [that].” Salyers, who works with the Women’s Outreach Program, explains. “We’ve been together since I was in fourth grade, so they are my brothers.”

The last time the siblings were united was four years ago, according to Salyers.

“Our parents flew us in to Arkansas,” she said. “That was our Christmas present. We actually got to come together for a family Christmas and get some pictures, so it was a really good time.”

Nicholaus, serving at Combat Outpost Mizan, said his father was instrumental in getting the three of them together. 

“I was actually at FOB Lagman in a transient tent, getting ready to head back to COP Mizan from R&R, and I got forwarded an e-mail from my dad that he had sent to General Allyn, and [Brig.] Gen Schwietzer. He said they had planned on getting us back together.”

Adam serves at Combat Outpost Zerok. As the last of the siblings to join the Army, he talked to his brother about going to see him during this deployment. However, no plans were ever actually made. 

“It was a pretty new development.” Adam said. “I feel pretty excited. I haven’t seen my brother or sister for a few years so it’s pretty cool to see them over here.”

After the three reunited, they spent the evening reminiscing about old times and shared a few laughs.

“Just to be able to be with family here in Afghanistan is kind of surreal,” Sayers said. ‘To me family is everything, so it makes it all worth it with us being here and what we’re doing.”

Lifeless to know the definition for what life is.

U.S. Sgt. Ramon Cortez, assigned to 1st Platoon, A Battery, 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Spartan Steel conducts security combat patrols in Khowst province. TF Spartan Steel is part of the Spartan Brigade based on Forward Operating Base Salerno in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XII-XIII.

(Photo by Staff Sergeant Jason Epperson, 25 January 2012.)

Hold On, I’ve Got You.

U.S. Army Capt. Dree Boggs is the support transportation officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 201st Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Task Force Duke. She poses here with her drawing, “Hold On.” A native of Bossier City, Louisiana, Boggs is one of several artists at Forward Operating Base Salerno using their creative talents to help pass the time and to enrich the lives of fellow soldiers. The charcoal line drawing was inspired by the solidarity demonstrated by the soldiers in her section following a rocket attack at the installation.

(Photo by Major Travis Dettmer, 22 November 2011.)

Army Private First Class Vincent J. Ellis. 4 June 2012.

Died June 4, in Landstuhl, Germany, from wounds suffered June 1, on Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, when enemy forces attacked his unit with improvised explosive devices and small arms fire.  He was assigned to the 1st Squadron, 40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.