The first “Sparta Week” celebrating the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division wasn’t all fun and games.
In the midst of five days of activities that included athletic competitions, a barbeque and a ball, the “Spartans” paused to honor 81 of their fellow paratroopers who have died in the brigade’s eight-year history.
I got to spend the last week in St. Petersburg, Russia. A group of six from my church went to help facilitate an English camp and experience as much Russian culture as we could in one week. I felt for foreign travelers to the United States who struggle with language barriers. So many Americans have the attitude “You’re in America, speak American,” yet I was in Russia unable to speak Russian. My language skills were limited to yes, no, and my name is — “da,” “neyt,” and “menya zavut.”
A member of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in a court martial on base Thursday, May 2.
A military judge sentenced Spc. Marshall D. Drake Jr. to 11 years, 9 months in prison for the Christmas, 2012 killing of Pfc. Grant W. Wise in Drake's barracks room. The shooting came after a night of heavy drinking. Drake was also reduced in rank to private, ordered to forfeit all pay and allowances and will receive a dishonorable discharge.
The continuous 24-hour operational readiness exercise, Polar Force 13-3, came to a close Monday after a week of evaluating Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Air Forces deployment capabilities, despite weather complications.
Editor’s note: The following is part of a series of stories about members of the Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division injured in combat during the 3,500-member “Spartan” brigade’s 10-month deployment to Afghanistan, which ended in Oct. 2012.
By helping his fellow soldiers heal their war wounds, Army Master Sergeant Marcus McClain is learning to deal with his own.