Enlistment and Basic Training
Interviewee: Sheldon Holgreen
Sheldon had an interest in the military since he was a boy. In high school a recruiter took Sheldon and some others to Camp Williams to blow up demolitions and drive Humvees and Sheldon was hooked. He signed up on his eighteenth birthday and showed up for basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina in July 2003. Sheldon found it difficult to train with some of the less disciplined people but he enjoyed training and was put in a leadership position. Sheldon then talks about combat engineer training. In December 2003 he was called up to go to Iraq with 116th Engineer Company and deployed to Kuwait in February.
He talks about the staging process in Kuwait and then entering Iraq. He describes his thoughts and emotions traveling through the country and through Baghdad. They arrived at Balad Air Base and started getting assignments to fix up the base. Their next mission was setting up a Captured Enemy Ammunition point in Tikrit. Then Sheldon started running supplies between Balad and Tikrit. After six months his company was sent to the air base in Nasiriyah to work on the ROM-RON site. Sheldon describes transitioning back into civilian life. In 2006 went to Louisiana to do graveyard recovery after Hurricane Katrina.
Sheldon transferred to a military intelligence unit and was sent to Monterey, California to learn Chinese Mandarin. He reclassified to Human Intelligence Collector and was able to go to the course in Utah. He was then deployed to the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan with 173rd Infantry as a Human Intelligence Collector. The Korengal Valley saw difficult fighting with insurgents every day. Sheldon talks about the living and working conditions. Every day they were involved in a firefight and Sheldon describes some of them. 1st Infantry then replaced 173rd and Sheldon was able to form a stronger bond with them. They lost a lot of soldiers and Sheldon talks about Nathan Cox, who every one respected and loved, being killed by an IED.
He describes what it was like coming home. He describes his leave and spending time with his wife for two weeks. Returning to Afghanistan after his leave was harder for him and his wife than when he first left. Then he talks about coming home from Afghanistan for good. He earned a degree through online classes and he now works for the Guard.