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Colby Wood, Petty Officer 1st Class, USN has been promoted to Chief Petty Officer. Chief Wood is attached to the USS Boise which recently returned from a six-month deployment to the Mid East in support of Operation "Enduring Freedom."
Chief Wood was also selected as "Sailor of the Year," USS Boise and as such, he and his wife recently traveled to Boise, Idaho to represent his ship at the invitation of the City of Boise. Meetings with the Governor of Idaho and the Mayor of Boise were only part of the busy schedule of events in which they participated.
Chief Wood, a 1988 graduated of Susquehanna Community High School, is living in Virginia Beach, VA with his son, Alex and wife, Dawn, the former Dawn Marie Perrington, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William Perrington of Susquehanna. Colby is the son of Mildred Wood CPO, USNR Retired of New Orleans, LA and James Wood CPO, USN/USNR Retired of Susquehanna, PA.
When the soldiers of Charlie Company 1/109th, New Milford, first learned of their mission to Bosnia back in March, a lot of questions ran through their minds. The most pressing of these was, "Am I going to make a difference?" As the infantrymen from all over Northeast Pennsylvania enter their second month in the Balkans, they are now able to answer that.
On October 5, Bosnia conducted its first election without any international monitors since the war ended seven years ago. Charlie Company was there, providing a presence near every polling site in its sector. The election was a success, as this war torn country exercised democracy without one incident or threat of violence.
Refugees have returned to their demolished homes in record numbers this year. While not everyone will be finished with construction before winter, the soldiers of Charlie Company are there to be sure that food and firewood preparations are being made. "I want to be sure that all of the returnees are prepared for the winter. Some of these villages are remote, and Im not sure well be able to get to them if the snows are deep," said SPC John Burke, of Forest City. SPC Burke and the rest of his platoon are using the favorable conditions of the autumn to gain a better understanding of who may need their help over the coming months.
All of the soldiers from Charlie Company spend a great deal of time using an interpreter to talk to the citizens of Bosnia. Nearly every soldier has experienced seeing the appreciation in the eyes of all types of citizens. Muslim Bosniacs and Serbians are both grateful that the Pennsylvania Army National Guard is there to keep the peace. Deuric Savo, a retired mine worker from Vlasenica, recently thanked SPC James Radie, of Hawley, saying, "Now I can sleep at night, knowing that nothing bad will happen."
The questions from the start of the deployment are being answered. Perhaps the most rewarding of these is "Yes, I am making a difference."
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