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Sunday, May 1, 2016

Soldiers spend career in same unit

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Master Sgt. Randall Knox (front) and Sgt. 1st Class Neil Brown have spent their entire careers with the 138th Quartermaster Support Co., Brazil.
AL ASAD AIRBASE, Iraq -- It is a unique opportunity to be a part of a community while serving the community as a solder in the Army National Guard.

Many communities across America raise soldiers and it is a calling to give back to those communities over the long haul in life.

Soldiers from the 138th Quartermaster Support Co., Brazil, have accomplished that great haul by serving in the same National Guard units for more than 20 years.

Although these unit names and equipment have changed over the years, the location has remained the same.

Master Sgt. Randall Knox, a senior maintenance supervisor and operations non-commissioned officer in charge with the 138th Quartermaster Company, and a Center Point native, recalls many changes.

"In 1970, when I first joined the unit, it was the 38th Supply and Transportation Company. The unit equipment consisted of the M151 Jeep, M52-5 ton tractors, M818-5 ton tractor, 12 ton S&P trailers, 25 ton lowboy trailers, and M35-2 ton cargo trucks," Knox said. "In 1993, when the unit became Bravo Co., 8th Main Support Battalion, the unit equipment started to change extensively."

As Knox prepares for redeployment this month, he will also prepare to celebrate his 40th year in the Indiana Army National Guard. Knox accounted for many reasons why he has stayed with the same unit for nearly 40 years.

"It was only seven miles from home and at the time, the unit had the military occupational specialty I wanted to make a military career in," he said. "The staff and its non-commissioned officer leadership were outstanding and did a great job of mentoring the younger enlisted soldiers. Their leadership has made me what I am today, and that is why 39 years later, I am still giving advice and mentoring the young soldiers who join the unit.

Just as Knox was approaching his first 20 years in the 138th, Sgt. 1st Class Neil Brown, the readiness non-commissioned officer for the 138th and a Brazil native, was just beginning his 20th year career in 1989. Brown said that he joined Bravo Co., 38th Spt., and TC during his senior year of high school.

He said that the decision was actually pressed upon him by his father, retired Readiness NCO and first sergeant of Bravo Co., 38th MCB Thomas Brown.

"Join the Indiana Army National Guard at the Brazil unit as an 88M," Brown's father told him. "It is my hometown unit and the local community supports the Brazil unit in every way possible."

As Thomas Brown should know just how the community supports the 138th, since not only was he a truck driver, a squad leader, and platoon sergeant, but also the Recruiting and Retention noncommissioned officer for the unit while it was Bravo Company, according to his son.

"He helped build the unit from the community during his years as a very successful recruited," Sgt. 1st Class Brown said.

Another local community member who joined the Brazil unit in 1979 was Sgt. Gary Nuckols, motor vehicle operator and a Brazil resident.

Although Nuckols had a break in his service, he has still served the same unit for 20 years.

"It was 10 miles from my home and the unit had good leaders," Nuckols said. "I can remember wearing solid green uniforms and the first thing you loaded for the field was the beer cooler."

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