"We are all well here in East Grand Forks, MN although Nathan '95 has been extended (in Iraq) we are grateful for his daily safety and pray for all those who have lost loved ones in this war", Jennifer Fontaine Modeen '94.
From San Antonio Riley Sharbonno '02 writes that his time in the Army is up and he will return to MN and begin chiropractic school within the next year. Other developments in the offing.
On 3 March Casey Campbell '05 was promoted to 1st Lt, so reports wife Michelle '05 from Germany. "We've been really busy with me coaching Odyssey of the mind, substitute teaching at the elementary school, and being active at our church. Casey just got back from a two week field exercise and is turning right around and going on a 'work' field trip to the Austrian Alps to ski for 3 days. "He's working so hard....haha! I just got back from a trip to Paris; it was really interesting. A few weeks ago, Casey and I went to visit Timmy (Casey's brother, an SJU student studying abroad in Spain) in Segovia and we had a blast. They visited many other high points of interest in Europe and sent a picture from the Plaza Mayor in Salamanca where I too have been. Good to hear the army is permitting them to see some of the sights."
“I'm out of Afghanistan and now in Virginia,” writes Major Rex Saukkonen ‘92. “I'm attending Joint Forces Staff College which has the intent of making a Joint Staff Officer out of me. The scope of the course is Joint Warfare, or learning to play nicely with the other services and multinational partners. I am learning quite a bit. I was able to get family housing and bring my family. It's turned out to be a great ‘vacation’. Most importantly, Pauline and Max don't have to spend an additional three months without me.”
As of 9 Mar Bill Johnson, Jr.’95 writes that he will be deployed to Iraq. “My job is to act as a consultant and assist the country to gain the knowledge and abilities necessary to self-sustain. I will be part of a Provincial Recovery Team (PRT). As an MBA, I will be serving as a Business Specialist, assisting Iraqis to develop businesses. I am one of just over 100 US personnel (military and civilian). I will be leaving within the next couple months. It will be so meaningful to have caring friends and family thinking of and praying while I am away from my family: Heather, Lauren and Olivia.”
Marcus Needham ‘04 wrote a full account of his life and work in Iraq back in Jan. His work as Executive Officer (in a transportation platoon) takes him away from the simpler life of being a Platoon Leader and hanging out with the soldiers, but keeps him so busy he stays happy. Lt Marcus P. Needham/ ADC, 215th BSB, 3HBCTm 1CD/ FOB Warhorse/ APO AE 09336
In mid-March Justin Van Beusekom ‘02 wrote from Iraq: “I am currently at FOB Prosperity in the Green Zone. We just moved about a month ago from Southern Baghdad. I took command of a maintenance company on 22 Jan. My life has changed tremendously. My wife, Katie ‘04, is stationed just right up the road with the 28th CSH.”
8 April, from Richard Martinson ‘04: “I got to see a fellow Johnnie twice in one week. I met up at a Green Bean coffee shop in eastern Iraq with Marcus Needham ‘04! It was good to see his face! He's still that funny guy I've known, and a great friend! He looks pretty tired in the picture (accompanying the e-mail), but understand it's about 1:00am when we took it. I'm keeping this one short as I go home on leave in a few days. I've got the Memorial motorcycle ride, some time up at the cabin and lots of family time!! I'm really excited! Emily got us tickets to the Pinestock as well. That weekend is also the SJU Military Ball that I've been invited to.”
Susan Pogatshnik ’88 wrote recently that her husband John Kolb ’88 is on an extended tour in Iraq but that she, the three children and John were able to meet John for his R & R in Garmisch, Germany in Jan.
The news came first from his wife Amanda: “Matthew Bruns ‘04 is back in the states. After spending about 3 weeks in Kuwait, receiving rest and physical therapy for his shoulder, the Army decided he needed longer time to heal his shoulder and back. He flew into Fort Gordon GA on March 15th. He is receiving medical care at Eisenhower Medical Center.” Amanda and baby boy Cameron were able to go to see Matt. They are anticipating that some of Matt’s therapy could take place in MN, closer to home. Matt writes: “It’s great being back but it’s tough knowing my boys are still over there. I got an email from one of my NCO's a week after I left telling me 4 of my soldiers got hit with shrapnel from an IED.”