In January, several members of the 138th Quartermaster Support Company out of the Brazil Armory departed for deployment to Iraq.
Recently, three of those soldiers responded via e-mail to questions provided by The Brazil Times regarding their current deployment as Memorial Day approached.
Sgt. First Class Neil Brown, Brazil, told The Times things are going "pretty well."
"It's hot, dry and there are many days when the air is "red" due to the sand storms," Brown said. "This weather is nothing like the Indiana heat and humidity I am used to."
Brown said morale within the company is "high."
"They are motivated and continue to work long hours with limited 'down time,'" he said. "During their down time, they can attend various Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) events like softball, a movie, or swimming to name a few. Many of the soldiers have been focused on improving their overall physical fitness by going to the gym. They continue to set the example and are doing an outstanding job."
Another Brazil resident, Specialist Meghan Copper, echoed Brown's sentiments, saying things were going well.
"From my perspective, we are accomplishing a lot," she said. "We are acclimating well. We are growing closer as a unit and becoming closer than we already were. It's very different, of course.
"You are reminded of the little things at home that were overlooked or taken for granted. Rain, grass, cool breezes, family and friends. It makes you appreciate everything so much more."
Copper added morale is high.
"We are allowed to put up pictures and decorate our rooms within reason so it feels good to leave work and open the door to your room and see your loved ones on the wall or lay down for the night with a loved one's pillow they sent with you," she said. "The little things help us a lot."
Newberry resident Sgt. First Class Robert Helderman said the troops are keeping busy with long hours.
"Their morale is still good, they are all doing their best to support our mission," Helderman said.
Brown added the soldiers are performing logistics missions throughout the Anbar Provence.
"The types of missions include managing supplies, providing maintenance support and providing different types of security," he said.
Both Copper and Brown said the cultural differences between Iraq and the United States are "unique."
"The culture is very different but interesting at the same time," Copper said. "It's definitely not Indiana. I miss the seasons of the year. It's like summer here all year. Rare thunderstorms, no snow, just dry, hot sand."
"Nothing like I have ever seen," Brown added. "There is no green grass to be found or colorful flowers to see. Everything seems to have a brownish, sandy tone. It is extremely hot and there is very little rain."
This was Copper's first tour of duty. However, she said she has met soldiers who have made multiple tours.
"They tell me that tours now compared to a couple of years ago are calmer and easier to deal with and handle," Copper said. "This is really something to be proud of."
Brown said he lives in a "container housing unit," (CHU), that is 12-by-12 in size. He has access to wireless Internet (which he paid for) and television that broadcasts the Armed Forces Network, which has approximately 10 channels.
"ESPN is one of them!" Brown said, adding the food in the chow hall serves a variety of dishes, but he misses the taste of a 747 from Maurizio's, in addition to chips and salsa from Mario Bros., and a "tenderloin" from the Alabama Bar and Grill.
The company is expected to be home by the end of the year.
"I promise we will have our heads held high and be thankful to see our loved ones and for the opportunity to serve our great nation, state and community," Brown said.
"It would be nice to be home for the holidays, but just going home will be good enough for me," Copper added.