Wolfhound Reflections – Maj (R) Chadwick Maxey

Upon arriving to Hawaii in 2005 and joining 2-27IN Wolfhounds, I could never imagined the impact that it would have on my life, both in the Army and now afterwards. I arrived during the units first week back from redeployment from Afghanistan in 2004-2005 (the first time the Battalion had been deployed as a whole unit since Vientam) and remembered the confused look on people's faces that a young Lieutenant had just missed the main event. However, time proved that I would have plenty of opportunities to serve with these men I still call brothers and the finest infantry soldiers in the Army. There was very little time for the unit to relax, as the patch chart already had 3rd Brigade going back to Iraq the following year. We had to fit individual, squad and platoon live fires (at Pohakuloa Training Area- PTA) before heading to the desert of California for the National Training Center. About half the unit was combat veterans and fortunately, most of the leadership. The training was intense, but honestly could never have prepared us for what we'd face during the next year and a half.

The 2006-2007 tour in Hawija, Iraq at Fob McHenry was one of the most difficult challenges in Iraq. GEN Petraeus once joked about Hawija remaining a "shit hole" in Iraq when everywhere things were showing progress. My company, the Hellraisers, were assigned to the city and nothing could prepare us to lose 2 casualties before we finished the Relief in Place (RIP) of the 101st Airborne (1- 327IN). Corporal Jeremy Shank continues to be honored by those who served with the Alpha Company and particularly our 11C mortar section. Darryl Weatherby, was a police adviser attachment who clearly had no issues facing the dangers of the city and should be honored as much as anyone in uniform. The next 15 months proved to be chaotic as we went from trying to pull out of Iraq to fighting our way back into each city and implementing the Counter Insurgency strategy that GEN Patraeus and LTG Odierno ordered throughout Iraq. The remaining months proved that we were capable of making progress, despite the challenges associated with the Sunni/Shia/Kurd sectarian civil war that was occurring during our watch. Another defining moment of the deployment was the announcement by President George W. Bush that all units in Iraq would be extended 3 months to implement the surge strategy to contain the civil war that was spreading. This difficult news came hard on morale, but the Wolfhounds kept marching along. Although there were countless missions, air assaults, raids and recoveries there is one mission that stands out for the deployment. The Wolfhounds were specially picked by the Division Commanding General, MG Benjamin Mixon, for Operation Lightning Hammer, a followup 25th Infantry Division operation to Arrowhead Ripper, and involved 3 Brigade Combat teams to clear the entire city of Baqubah and the Diyala River Valley. Wolfhounds fought next to 5-73 Cav out of the 82nd, 2-6 Cav out of 1st Cav Division and 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat team, the Corps reserve from Ft Lewis. This operation was the largest outside of Baghdad since the battles for Falluja and Ramadi involving over 10,000 US soldiers. The intense day to day fighting defined the deployment and the 18 Wolfhounds that made the ultimate sacrifice during that most difficult mission will never be forgotten.

In 2008, I had made it my personal mission to return to Hawaii because I knew the unit was redeploying within 11 months after returning from Iraq in 2007. After a condensed training period, the Wolfhounds were once again sent to Iraq, this time to the city of Bayji at Fob Summerall, just an hour's drive north of Tikrit, Sadam's hometown, and it's critical national oil refinery. The oil refinery was out-producing their southern counterparts, in large part due to the efforts of its Oil minister Dr. Obeidi and the protection afforded by the Headquarters Company. C Company took the city of Bayji, which remained a hotbed of insurgent activity. However, slowly, this tour began to show the fruition of the strategy implemented by the previous deployment and units. Attacks went from daily, almost hourly attacks, to weekly and monthly. Government projects began to take shape with the aid of US State Department and USAID. Although we weren't always in a combat situation, the Wolfhounds remained vigilant as many had just recently experienced the dangers of the previous deployment. The city slowly changed and no doubt in part due to the legacy of SGM Hugh O'reilly. As the then Brigade Commander stated, the duality of warrior (tough in battle against the enemy, compassionate in person to civilians) was second nature to Wolfhounds through our legacy with the Holy Family Home. We can remain vigilant and fierce, but still create progress. During the next 12 months, the Wolfhounds did kill the enemy and establish security, but they did much more by rebuilding the city and people's hope through projects like the Bujwari water pumps, the water treatment facility repair and the complete renovations of roads and the Police and government compounds. This deployment was not without its heroes and those that made the ultimate sacrifice. CPL Anaya, from Alpha Company, was KIA while driving by a dangerous Anti-Armor IED. SGT Brendan Marrocco, miraculously survived and continues to recover and astonish doctors at his amazing recovery. He recently became the first recipient of the first double arm transplant in the world. In an unfortunately replaying of the past, our Military Police attachments advising also struck tragedy. SSG Shannon Smith, CPL Zachary Myers, CPL Thomas Lyons all made the ultimate sacrifice for the progress we created that year. But those who remained were undeterred and continued their mission, despite the heart wrenching loss. Ultimately, the Wolfhounds protected each other and gave the city of Bayji and the Iraqi nation (because of the oil refinery) a true chance at progress and peace. This deployment would be defined by the fellowship of the unit and progress that we showed was possible for the war torn country.

Upon redeploying in 2009, the Wolfhounds were already notified that they would be deploying to Afghanistan just one year later again, where they again honored the legacy of the 27th Infantry Regiment during the Afghan surge in the dangerous mountains of Kunar. No complaints, just understanding by the men who wear the wolfhound crests. Despite the pain and sacrifice made, it was with great sadness that I left my family of brothers for the past 5 years. These men truly showed bravery time and time again. No one else can understand how much courage was required when every day there were no guarantees. They truly earned their motto "NO FEAR ON EARTH".

Brothers forever,

Chad Maxey (fmr Army Major)

Hellraiser 36, Hellraiser 5, Lightning 8A, No Fear 3A, Comanche 6

Tropic Lightning, Wolfhounds- NO FEAR!  

 

Mason Rick CPT, ARMY, C/2-27
Mason grew up watching war movies with his father and visiting museums dedicated to those who served. When the chance to enlist arose through a high school ROTC program, he knew he couldn't turn down the opportunity to serve his country. Mason worked as Fire Support Officer in Afghanistan, leading a team of ten men, and later became the Battalion Master Fitness Instructor. When first deployed, Mason and his team realized there was a severe lack of clean drinking water available to locals. Partnering with civilian organizations, he led a team through dangerous conditions to make water filters available to those in need. He knew it was a mission that not everyone would have taken on, but he also knew the payoff would be worth it. "It seemed like a simple decision to make," he said, "complete the mission and help the people of Afghanistan." As a veteran, Mason now lives in Cincinnati with his wife and family. He participates in local food drives, raises funds to help those in need, and is a regular blood donor.
Mason Rick's Photos
Memories of Capt. Roland Keller

My name is Roland Arthur Keller Junior. I was a Captain with Delta Company 2/27 Wolfhounds during 2005-2008. I was promoted to Major during that time. I grew up as an Army brat. I was born in Fort Benning Georgia, my father was born in Fort Benning Georgia as was my grandfather. My oldest daughter was also born in Fort Benning Georgia. We traveled around a lot with my father. The 2d Infantry Division was in Korea, then we went to Germany and later I finished high school in Texas. I really didn't do anything in life before the military except for a few odd jobs. I enlisted on December 13, 1994 in the Texas Army National Guard. I enlisted to be an 11 Bravo will began serving in Alpha Company of the 1st of the 141st at Camp Bullis,Texas.. The commute was a little far for me, I was in college at the time, so I transferred to the First of the Hundred and 33rd Field artillery in San Marcos, Texas. I went to basic training at Fort Benning, Georgia as an 11 Bravo but again was assigned to an artillery unit. I did mostly forward observing with them. Most of our training was at Fort Hood. There was a large impact area there so we had lots of opportunities to shoot. I did airborne training at Fort Benning, went to Ranger school a couple times but did not get a tab. I have a lot of good experiences but my last time I woke up in the hospital. I have a heat stroke and blacked out. The first thing I remember is about a day later waking up at Fort Benning.

I came from a family with a long history of military service, again my dad and grandfather were infantrymen, both officers. My uncle was a Medical Services Officer and my grandmother has a Valor Award as a nurse from the Second World War. To the best of my knowledge this is the only member of the family to hold a Valor Award. Basically I wanted to follow in my family's footsteps. I was doing ROTC in college and that was the source of my commission. I did not know if I wanted to remain in the military. I did know that it was one of the things that I at least needed to test out to see what it was like to be in the military as opposed to simply being a military dependent. Obviously your impressions aren't necessarily reality when you are a kid or dependent when you're in Korea or Germany and more or less surrounded by it.

I finally got my commission. Unfortunately, when I got my active duty I was assigned as an Air Defense Artillery Officer. I fought that tooth and nail. When I got to OBC at Fort Bliss, Texas, I make sure they knew I did not want to stay as an Air Defender and so orders were cut so I would go to Korea as an Air Defender and then go to Fort Benning and branch transfer to Infantry. I served as platoon leader for Second Platoon, Bravo Battery 5088 at at Camp Gary Owen with the 4/1 Cav. It was 1998, nothing was going on. It was the best place for a young Lieut. to get experience since there was a standing army on the other side of the line. If it was going to happen, this was the best guess for a young uninformed Lieut. to select to go. I did not join the military to stay out of the fight but to be as close to them as possible.

I moved to Fort Benning after Korea. I served as Air Defense Officer with the 3d ID and then transferred to the Infantry. I was then transferred to the Brigade Staff. I had been serving as the Chemical Officer and then as XO for Capt. Charles Howard, Bravo Company, 115th Infantry. We were getting prepared to go to the National Training Center. I had been there a couple times. After a short time as company XO I was promoted to Captain and was given a mission to Fort Drum to train up a group getting ready to go to Bosnia. Then I transferred to Fort Polk to train up a group going to Kosovo- Bosnia. While I was there, 9/11 occurred. All thoughts of getting out of the military at that moment when out of my head. I then went back to Fort Benning. I tried to remain in my unit. Unfortunately, everybody was trying to stay in tactical units; the schoolhouses were being emptied out we all thought it would be similar to Desert Storm, 100 hour war, and we all wanted to be involved.

We were all recalled to go back to the Schoolhouse. I knew that I would rather take a training company command if I was going to miss out on everything. So, I did that. I was the commander of Bravo2/47, Fort Benning, Sandhill and trained the infantrymen for a year. I then took over Battalion S3 for the I Triple C, then to the 25th ID.

I got off the plane at Schofield Barracks, they handed me a bunch of uniforms and told me I was going to Afghanistan as part of the advanced party. I packed my stuff up and took off for a 13 month tour. I was assigned to Other Coalition Forces Special Operations. I was the Liaison between these groups and conventional forces. I work for Col. Tony Thomas, who is now General Thomas, Special Operations Command for the military. Also, I worked for Gen. McChrystal, Adm. McRae, Jim Mingus,and Carl Mixon, a tremendous group of people. I was recruited there for A WG but I preferred to stay with conventional forces. I wanted to command a company in combat. I wanted to do that before I served on the staff for A WG. I was not recruited to be an operator but to be a staff guy. To me I still had the ability to serve in the tactical role. They were recruiting me to be a planner. That did not interest me.

I returned to Schofield and the new 3 for the Division was LTC Walt Piatt. Today, 2018, he is the Divisional Cmdr. for the 10th Mountain and he had just left as commander of the 2/27. I knew him by reputation and activities because his unit came up on the net a lot. We did a lot of coordinating between the Wolfhounds and the Special Operators. At the same time I was working as a planner and the 3 shop as a conversion for the Strikers in the 2d brigade. Actually, I was hoping to be a Wolfhound in the 1st Brigade, not knowing anything about either Battalion other than the Strikers were going to the second Battalion.

Col. Piatt walked into my office along with General Mixon, who was the new division commander, and Gen. Mixon asked how long I had been there in Three Shop. I had been there 22 months and Gen. Mixon said that was unsatisfactory. Col. Piatt looked at me and immediately said, I know where I want to send you. He wanted to send me to be the new Commander of Delta Company 2/27 Wolfhounds in D Quad. Due to reorganization the 2/27 gained a Fox and Delta Company. Delta Company had 79 people as opposed to 141 for the others. Delta company was designed to be mounted and to have 50 calibers etc. My first impressions of the wolfhounds were probably not the best. I walked into Drew Meyerwich's office, Lt. Col. at the time, and he looked at me and saw that I did not have the Ranger tab. He was not terribly excited and was perturbed that I was pushed up on him as opposed to him being able to select his own company commanders. I understood that but at the same time I didn't feel I was someone being pushed upon them so we started off with a somewhat rocky relationship. After I walked out of his office, after a lengthy counseling session, I walked by the Battalion XO's office. I realized it was Dan Wilson who I had worked with at 3d Brigade. He had a tremendous reputation. I had seen him in command of his companies and I was terribly pleased to be in the unit with him.

Delta company started out with three people. They were, myself, first Sgt. Billy Cheney and Sgt. Josh Freeman. The Sgt. major gave first Sgt. Cheney the first selection of who he wanted to be in the company.. So anytime we had new recruits to come in Billy went down to select what he felt was the best of the lot. He did a great job of picking out the best workers and those that were well disciplined and without problems. The company filled quickly. We did some training in 05 and 06 and went to the national training Center,came back and got ready to deploy.

Drew and I had a growing relationship during this entire period. He and I spoke a few times of his perception of me previously and he also questioned me about when I would be able to go to Ranger school. I told him I would be able to go in the winter due to time restrictions after a heat injury. He and I started seeing each other after hours,usually at his house. We would talk about our deployment, how we were going to function, and how we were going to have success over a planned year. We came up with a plan for my company and our role with the brigade. I believe we had a very strong relationship by the time we were ramping up to go to Iraq.

When we got to a Awja Iraq, two of my platoons were transferred to other companies. I could not have had a better unit to go into combat with than the Wolfhounds. They performed admirably. They were confronted with everything from IED's to snipers. We had significant losses and while we felt these losses and dealt with those in our own particular ways we were always very supportive of one another.

I enlisted in December 1994. I was commissioned in 97. I have tours in Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan. I have served from PFC to E5. I've also served as second Lieut. to LTC. I'll retire and January 2018. All that I went into combat with I consider a friend. I will say that Drew Myerowich and I are forever close. Dan Wilson will forever be a close brother. Brian Payne pulled me out of the worst place mentally that I've ever been. This was after I just lost two soldiers. That was Locklear and Kincaid from an IED. I was one of the few times that Drew and I went after each other and I was totally in the wrong. I was incredibly emotional at that point. He would not let me go outside the wire because he saw how emotional I was and he was afraid I would overstep the rules of warfare. As opposed to acting out I turned in on myself and had a painful moment that I ended up unloading on the Battalion S2. He had nothing to do with what he came to me about. It was all about where I was emotionally at the time and the Battalion Three, Brian came up and protected his staff, as he should have, not realizing what had just happened in the other room. After I had stormed off, Brian came and found me and helped pull me out of the moment and I will forever be grateful to Brian for that. The other losses sustained I refuse to let myself get into an emotional spot with any of them, even those that were much closer to me. Those like Josh Madden, who I was there at his wedding and I knew him and his wife Danni and son Jax. Also, Sammy my interpreter who got shot while they were trying to hit me. I was not going to let it affect my ability to command. I learned a lot in that first engagement and first loss. I obviously miss all those guys still today.

Our unit did political engagements with local leaders. One of the local leaders, Mayor Hassan, was a good man. The insurgents did not like his relationship with us and he was targeted with an IED and he ended up losing a leg. We were able to provide a prosthetic leg for him. Riyadh was another town that was really a sticking point with the Arabs and Kurds and that the Kurds had refineries and Arabs had the oil. There were a lot of IED's going off there. We always joked about putting a wall around it, filling it with water, and putting in crocodiles, and that's what we did except for the crocodiles and water. We put a berm wall around the city. At the lowest point the berm wall was about 10 feet high. Doing that, we gave the Iraqi army the ability to see where the insurgents were going in and out. Later on we knocked the berm down after the city became more secure.

Major events revolved around the loss of soldiers and sailors. We lost three EOD members shortly after we got there. We stayed true to our mission and engaged in the proper way. I made a lot of great friends there my peers: Drew Myerowich, Leif Hansen, Marcus Rice, Chuck Romero, Chuck Popoff, Rob Anders, Todd Harris, Billy Chaney, Titus Johnson, Sgt. Dougherty, Josh Freeman, Compton, Chitwood, Lieut. Blake and the bakers of Fox Company. There are many others. It is difficult to name them all.

I was promoted to Major at the end of my tour. I got a letter from my mother. In the letter she congratulated me for my promotion. She had read it in the Army Times. I talked to Rob Anders and asked if I had been promoted to Major. He started checking and found that I had indeed been promoted. I was given the choice of going to Brigade Staff but I chose to remain with my unit.

After combat I became an Acquisition Officer with a focus of giving the combat soldier the very best equipment possible. Now I'm serving as an investigator with the Department of the Army. The reputation of the military is very important to me. I'm ready to transition out of the military. I don't know what I want to do but I am spending more time with my family. My wife is a nurse and my children range from preschool and elementary school, middle school and high school. I am a member of the American Legion and want to be very supportive of the Wolfhound organization and bring as many of the young wolfhounds and to the organization as possible.

 

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