During the Gulf War of 1991, a large coalition force from 30 nations, led by the United States and mandated by the United Nations, attacked through Kuwait and into Iraq with the task of liberating Kuwait from the Iraqi invasion of Aug. 2, 1990.
As this force prepared to attack, one of the main geographical issues was the open exposed left flank of the coalition forces. As the attack would move north through Kuwait and on into Iraq. The wide-open desert terrain of western Iraq offered a severe military challenge to the attacking force.
To address this situation, the U.S. Army 18th Airborne Corps, composed of the 82nd Airborne Division, the 101st Airborne Division, and the French 6th Light Armored Division, was given the task of controlling this flank and turning the battle into the eastern part of the battle zone.
On Feb. 24, 1991, the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm began.
Reconnaissance units of the French division advanced into Iraq and secured an airfield 90 miles inside Iraq. Along the way they captured 2,500 prisoners. The plan worked; the flank was secure and never uncovered and the objectives were quickly reached.
A soldier who currently lives in Rockwall was with a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division attached to the French 6th Armored Division. As he says, “We took down one objective and spent a total of five days in Iraq; it was over pretty quickly!”
This soldier, son of a military father like many “military brats,” grew up all over the world. He was born in Boston in 1969 and then proceeded to live in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, North Carolina (Fort Bragg), and numerous overseas bases in Germany. He attended three different high schools, finally graduating from the Munich (Germany) High School in 1987.
Upon graduation he immediately joined the U.S. Army. Then it was back to the States for basic training, and then it was to a variety of different assignments as an infantryman: Fort Polk, Louisiana; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Korea; Fort Benning, Georgia; and then to a university as an ROTC instructor.
In February of 2003 it was back to Iraq, but this time as a platoon sergeant with the 82nd Airborne Division as they fought in Operation Iraq Freedom. This time not only was he responsible for himself, but he was the senior non-commissioned officer responsible for a platoon of approximately 40 hard-charging paratroopers!
The platoon is the lowest unit where an officer, usually a lieutenant, is assigned. The platoon is the training ground for these new officers, and their teacher is usually the platoon sergeant. He is an experienced non-commissioned officer, in the rank of E-7 (platoon sergeant), whose duties range from the welfare of his soldiers to platoon leadership to personal accountability to field operations to counseling to physical training to maintaining morale to hand holding to … I think you get the picture.
This man is responsible for the lives and welfare of his men. Working with and under the lieutenant, the two of them develop a close cohesiveness and both lead and protect their soldiers. and nothing develops this skill and leadership ability better that being in combat, where every decision can mean life or death for your fellow soldiers.
Coming back to the States in February of 2004, this soldier was promoted ahead of his contemporaries to master sergeant. His assignment: senior non-commissioned officer at the U.S. Army paratroopers’ school at Fort Benning, Georgia. His task: train all new paratroopers in the Army.
In November of 2006, he was reassigned to a university where he was the senior military science instructor in the ROTC program.
When telling the story of this soldier, I asked him about his opinion of soldiers and what he might tell someone thinking about joining the Army.
“The soldiers that join the Army today are smarter and just as eager to serve as generations of the past. I tell the ROTC cadets, and I tell others thinking about joining the service, that it is an excellent place to start, to mature, and to accomplish anything that you would like. I have enjoyed my Army experiences immensely and wouldn’t do anything differently.”
Finishing his tour of duty at the university, this soldier was promoted, again ahead of his contemporaries, to the highest non-commissioned officer rank, command sergeant major, E-9.
So once again, why did I write about a soldier who first came to our attention in February of 2009?
This soldier, Command Sgt. Major Chris Lynch, got out of the Army and was immediately hired by Rockwall County to be our elections administrator, responsible for the conduct of all elections held in Rockwall county.
And he has demonstrated the same leadership and outstanding performance in this position that he did in the service of our country in the U.S. Army.
Tell him hello and thank him for his service, both in the Army and here as our elections administrator, the next time you see him.
Jerry Hogan is a former county judge of Rockwall County and retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel who volunteers to write the searticles. He can be reached at 214-394-4033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.