January 8, 2015

Soldier returns to Mandaree for the New Year

By Edna Sailor

Johnny Cobb Hale returned home to join his family and see the sun rise on the New Year in Mandaree this year. Hale served three tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army.

"What I missed most about being gone is my family," he said. "It feels good to see everyone and I am enjoying the break for now. I can just relax and don’t have to worry about being a soldier for the moment."

Sergeant Hale (E5) has been gone from Mandaree for some time now serving his country in the US Army. He left his home in July of 2008 to enter basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia where he trained for the infantry.

"I want to do this because I am a young, able bodied man and my country is at war," Hale said. "If I do not go, what do I say when I am 60 years old? I want to be able to say I did my part."

Hale said it was a tough adjustment at first. "I wasn’t used to all the traffic noise and all the people. I had to learn about military structure in everything and even if its hard there is a reason for it. I had to learn to get up early and plan ahead for everything. I wasn’t used to people from so many different backgrounds," he said, "but I was committed."

After his training in Fort Benning, he was stationed at Fort Bragg where he entered the 1st Battalion 508 Parachute Infantry Regiment for four years.

"These are the guys who parachute in first in the case of a downed helicopter to retrieve the pilot and clean up." Hale said.


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