Former battalion commander, now major general, visits current ‘First Lightning’ Soldiers in Iraq
BAGHDAD—Maj. Gen. Arthur M. Bartell, director of joint operations with United States Forces – Iraq, addresses Soldiers with the quick response force with 1st “First Lightning” Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center Aug. 4, 2011 at Joint Security Station Loyalty, Iraq. Bartell, a former First Lightning Battalion Commander, visited JSS Loyalty to meet with and learn more about current “First Lightning” Soldiers and their mission. (U.S. Army photo by Capt. Christopher Miles, 2nd AAB, 1st Inf. Div., USD-C)
Story by: Capt. Christopher Miles
BAGHDAD—Soldiers with 1st "First Lightning" Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, United States Division – Center welcomed Maj. Gen. Arthur M. Bartell, director of joint operations, United States Forces – Iraq and a former First Lightning Battalion Commander to Joint Security Station Loyalty, Iraq Aug. 4, 2011.
Bartell was enthusiastic about visiting the Soldiers of his former command, and scheduled a visit specifically to meet First Lightning Soldiers and learn more about them and what they are doing.
"University of Michigan grads have walked on the moon, won the Heisman trophy, provided the voice of Darth Vader, and founded Google," said 1st Lt. Matthew Johnson, a platoon leader with Battery B, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt. and an Ann Arbor, Mich., native. "It's no surprise to me that one's a major general as well."
Johnson was pleased to meet a fellow graduate of the University of Michigan.
"We had a good time," Johnson said. "[Bartell] brought such a positive energy and had so many good things to say about what we've accomplished here."
Capt. John Morgan, commander of Battery B, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt. and a Baltimore native, spent some time showing Bartell around the JSS.
"Having the opportunity to brief the most senior Artilleryman in Iraq—who also happens to be an alumnus of this battalion—was motivating," Morgan said. "He really put things in perspective for us when he spoke in-depth of the historic timeliness and precision of artillerymen, and related all of our accomplishments here to the legacy of all artillerymen."
Bartell also took some time to go down to the quick reaction force staging area and speak to some of the Soldiers on duty.
"While I was on QRF, Maj. Gen. Bartell came down to speak with us for a while," said Pfc. Walter Thomas, a driver with Battery A, 1st Bn., 7th FA Regt. and an Augusta, Ga. Native. "It was great to see someone who used to be in the unit and still cares so much about what we're doing."