Statement of service for Nathan Pike. I enlisted into the Minnesota Army National Guard in B co 1/135th INF in Rochester on May of 1988 while a high school junior. I attended basic training at Fort Benning, GA with E 1/19th INF on Sand Hill. I returned to finish my senior year of high school and returned to Fort Benning for my advanced individual training with E 3/32nd INF back on Sand Hill or commonly known as “Sand Hilton”. Real men went to Harmony Church or simply known as the “Church” at The Benning School for Boys (Fort Benning).
After failing out of my first year in college I ran away and joined the regular Army for four years. After failing at Airborne School- need more PT! I was assigned to HQ Co. AMFL in than West Germany, stationed at Sullivan Barracks in Mannheim. I also spent time at Turley barracks when our unit moved during the reconstruction and upgrade at Sullivan. I witnessed the reunification of West & East Germany and managed to call home the day and talked to my parents all while trying to hold the phone out of the phone booth so my parents could hear the celebration going in Germany. Imagine cars honking, fireworks and people screaming…thousands of people. In Germany I earned the Expert Infantryman Badge, French Forces Commando Badge and an Army Commendation Medal. Our unit did not participate in Operations Desert Shield/Storm, we watched the war unfold on television.
I rotated back to the States in February 1992 and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division. My first unit B co. 4/101 AVN- I was a door gunner for six months on Blackhawk helicopters. Our unit conducted a rotation to the famed National Training Center-Fort Irwin, California. We got to fly out in Blackhawks. Three glorious days of flying over the United States and we flew back after our rotation. After my six months were up I was assigned to B co. 2/327 INF. A line company. I served as an M-249 gunner, rifleman and team leader. Earned the air assault badge and an Army Achievement Medal, so much more could be said but due to word limits I will stop.
After I left the regular Army I returned home and enlisted back into my old Guard unit, however B co. is now part of the 2nd Battalion-135th INF (Mechanized). The 1st Battalion had cased their colors. I settled into the Guard life, one weekend per month and two weeks in the summer. Ripley in the nice months and home station in the winter and rotations to Fort Chaffee, Arkansas and Gowen Field, Idaho.
In early 2000 at a drill weekend B co. is informed of a deployment to southwest Asia. The fall of 2000 arrives B co. ramps up for deployment. I am left behind because of family issues. One weekend a month and two weeks in the summer continue as well as B co. returns and life continues. In 2003 the entire 2/135 INF is mobilized for peacekeeping operations in Kosovo. We were lucky and drew a second deployment BACK to Kosovo in 2007. Right returning from Kosovo the first time, I volunteered for a deployment to Afghanistan. I served as an Embedded Tactical Trainer (ETT) to train and work with the fledgling Afghan National Army. Two hundred Guard and Reservist from across the United States served as the band-aid between Task Force Phoenix 3 and TF Phoenix 4. From my Afghan service I earned the coveted Combat Infantryman Badge and a Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service in a combat zone. I retired from the Minnesota Army National Guard in 2009 received the Meritorious Service Medal for retirement and left at the rank of staff sergeant. So much more should be said, but perhaps it is best left to my memory.