Bulldogs Making Headlines
Bulldogs Making Headlines: Read About The Bulldog Battalion in the News Gonzaga University's Bulldog Battalion exists to train and commission the future officer leadership of the U.S. Army. No one can argue that the Bulldogs do this well; we have achieved our mission for eight consecutive years to hold one of the longest streaks in the nation. More than only training officers though, Gonzaga University produces cadets that reflect the quality and depth of the program. These cadets leave lasting impressions wherever they go for their adherence to the military values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage - And they're making headlines as they do it. Quick Links:
Bulldogs Making Headlines: Read About The Bulldog Battalion in the News
Gonzaga University's Bulldog Battalion exists to train and commission the future officer leadership of the U.S. Army. No one can argue that the Bulldogs do this well; we have achieved our mission for eight consecutive years to hold one of the longest streaks in the nation. More than only training officers though, Gonzaga University produces cadets that reflect the quality and depth of the program. These cadets leave lasting impressions wherever they go for their adherence to the military values: Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage - And they're making headlines as they do it.
1 . Army Man Takes Integrity Far: Peter Gilroy, Class of 2007^
Army man takes integrity far
Commissioned officer welcomes role of leader
By Karen McCowan
COTTAGE GROVE - Peter Gilroy isn't one to seek the spotlight. But he was in it May 17, standing in the East Room with the President of the United States, watching his parents beam as Defense Secretary Robert Gates pinned on the gold stripes signifying his commission as a U.S. Army officer.
"It was surreal," the new second lieutenant - Cottage Grove High's 2003 valedictorian - recalled back home in Oregon last week. "Even walking in, you don't really realize how momentous it is. It's kind of crazy to be standing next to the leader of the free world."
Gilroy earned the honor by distinguishing himself among this year's 5,000 Army Reserve Officer Training Corps graduates.
"He is an exceptional young man," said Lt. Col. Alan Westfield, his commanding officer in Gonzaga University's ROTC program.
Gilroy was among just 55 ROTC standouts selected from all service branches nationwide to participate in the first-ever joint commissioning ceremony at the White House. Chosen to represent Oregon at the ceremony, he was one of only 22 Army ROTC members there.
"He's not a guy who likes a lot of attention, but this is a big deal," Westfield said, ticking off a list of reasons why Gilroy rose to the top.
"He's a scholar who graduated magna cum laude in business," the commander said. "He's an exceptional athlete who led our nine-person Ranger Challenge team to a regional championship. He's an effective leader who was our command sergeant major" and in his spare time "served as a mentor for young kids in the Spokane community."
"He's got enormous character," Westfield said. "He's going to be a very fine Army officer."
Although he enlisted after fighting had begun in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Gilroy said he turned to ROTC primarily as a way to pay for school.
"My brother did Naval ROTC at Notre Dame," he explained. "The fact that we had a conflict going on didn't really sway me one way or another. I knew, regardless, that I would be in a situation where there would be danger, because there's no time in our history where we haven't been involved in something dangerous, such as a NATO peacekeeping assignments in the Balkans and Somalia."
In remarks to the new officers, the President acknowledged the role of the ROTC scholarships "that helped pay for your college education."
"The American people provide these funds willingly," he said. "In exchange, they ask one thing: When their sons and daughters are put in harm's way, they are led by officers of character and integrity."
Gilroy will be such an officer, Westfield said: "Our nation's in good hands with people like Peter Gilroy stepping forward to lead young, 18-year-old privates and soldiers and sergeants in the world's best army during a time of war."
Gilroy chose Gonzaga's ROTC program because it has a reputation for giving participants "the tools to control your destiny," he said.
As a business major, that meant opportunities to apply the "management stuff" he was learning in his business administration classes.
"I have a really good job lined up," Gilroy said, as he prepares to report for duty at Fort Lewis next month. "I'll likely be a platoon leader in charge of 30 people. Not many people get that kind of leadership experience right off the bat. And the starting salary's not bad either - a little over $40,000."
Eventually, he plans to return to college for a master's degree in business administration.
"I don't know yet if I'll make the Army my career," he said. "It depends on whether I like the job."
Meanwhile, he sees the Army as a way to help him "see the world," a top post-college goal. After training, his first duty station will be in Vilseck, Germany. He's already been to Korea. And, of course, to the White House.
The reality of that experience really sank in after the ceremony, Gilroy said, when "we kind of had free rein inside the White House. I saw all these famous rooms, with their famous paintings. I always liked that one of J.F.K. with his head bowed, so I had someone take my picture with that one."
U.S. ARMY 2ND LT. PETER GILROY
Claim to Fame: The 2003 Cottage Grove High graduate represented Oregon at a May 17 White House commission ceremony for Reserve Officer Training Corps graduates.
Family: Parents Jim and Mary Gilroy of Cottage Grove; brother Andrew of New Jersey; sister Megan of California.
Education: Bachelor's degree in business, Gonzaga University, 2007
Role Model: Grandfather William Mitchell, a retired Navy engineer and World War II veteran. "He was just a good man - very honest, with a good sense of humor. He honestly cared about the well-being of others in front of himself."
Favorite Historical Military Figure: Alexander the Great
Now Reading: "When Heaven and Earth Changed Places (a civilian's-eye view of the Vietnam War)'; "Men are From Mars, Women are from Venus."
Listens to: Red Hot Chili Peppers, alternative rock
Five-, 10- and 20-Year Goals: See the world; earn an MBA; marry and raise a family
2 . Despite Troops' Pleas, Fear Keeps Many Away From the Polls: Phillip Fassieux, Class of 2003^
Despite Troops' Pleas, Fear Keeps Many Away From the Polls
By Steve Fainaru
MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 30, 2006 -- Around 10 a.m. Sunday, U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Phil Fassieux resolved to address the anemic voter turnout in southeast Mosul. He grabbed a clipboard inside his Stryker attack vehicle and quickly jotted down several entreaties that he wanted an Iraqi interpreter to make from the gunner's hatch:
"Secure your future!"
"Come vote today!"
"Show your strength and courage!"
"Today is the beginning of a New Iraq!"
"Come vote for your leaders!"
Fassieux handed a bullhorn to the interpreter, who was known as "Mario" and wore a black ski mask to hide his identity from insurgents. The bullhorn was broken, however. And within the 36-square-mile sector patrolled by Fassieux and C Company, 3rd Battalion of the 21st Infantry Regiment, most voters stayed home all day.
The large turnout seen in many parts of Iraq -- and in many parts of Mosul -- did not materialize in the southeast quadrant of the city. A month-long campaign of violence by insurgents in the Sunni Muslim neighborhoods of al-Whada and Palestine proved effective. At 10 a.m., three hours after the polls opened, site No. 31, one of 40 in Mosul, had not had a voter except for 15 Iraqi soldiers who were protecting it. A cluster of men stood within 25 feet of the entrance, saying they were too frightened to go in.
The low numbers made for a dramatically different day for the soldiers of C Company. Instead of protecting voters on the periphery of the polling sites, as occurred in most areas, the company's platoons spent much of the day on raids in which they would burst into homes in search of insurgents, only to wind up urging the occupants to vote.
"Of course I want to vote; we all want to vote," said Mazahim Khalil, a professor at Mosul University's College of Veterinary Medicine, after his house was searched. "We waited 50 years for this. But everyone is afraid."
On a wall across the street from Khalil's house was a warning in Arabic: "Anyone who votes will be beheaded."
But soldiers said they were not disappointed by the low turnout in neighborhoods where they are frequently attacked. Rather, they said they were pleased that casualties were kept low -- the one reported death in Mosul came when an Iraqi soldier accidentally fired his weapon at a polling site -- after weeks of concern that the northern Iraqi city would be a magnet for insurgent violence during the election.
"I got to participate in history," said 2nd Lt. Jason Shick, of Grand Rapids, Mich., as night fell on a workday that was already 14 hours old and had no end in sight. "I'm pretty happy right now."
Two of C Company's platoons were hit by roadside bombs and one was the target of a rocket-propelled grenade, but no one from the unit was injured. Election workers at two of the four polling sites patrolled by C Company reported mortar fire; one of those two was attacked with automatic-weapons fire. At site No. 34, Iraqi security forces went to a nearby mosque to broadcast a message to the neighborhood over the loudspeakers: "Come and vote. We are the new Iraqi army. We will protect you. You have nothing to fear."
When the soldiers were returning from the mosque, they stumbled upon a bomb: a 155mm artillery shell attached to a transistor radio and a blasting cap. Just before the polls closed, the bomb, which an Iraqi soldier had defused, lay about 20 feet from the voting room inside the polling site, an elementary school with Mickey Mouse and the Road Runner painted on its walls.
A reporter who briefly visited all four sites patrolled by C Company saw a total of four voters, all of them women.
The low turnout appeared to reflect the influence the insurgents are still able to wield, particularly in areas where they have strength. U.S. troops have repeatedly clashed with insurgents in southeast Mosul, and commanders spent much of last week trying to find the ones who were behind the Jan. 22 killing of 1st Lt. Nainoa K. Hoe, leader of C Company's 2nd platoon, who was gunned down in the Palestine neighborhood.
The C Company commander, Capt. Rob Born, of Burke, Va., began his day in the dark doing 6 a.m. security checks at the four polling sites, but he was diverted back to the same neighborhood where Hoe was shot. The 3rd Battalion had received intelligence that a cell of suicide bombers was planning to attack a polling place and was operating out of a cluster of houses in Palestine.
Born waited for the Stryker to drop its rear ramp, then sprinted across the same muddy field that had stood between Hoe and his assailant. He rounded a corner and burst into a house where it was thought the cell might be.
Born found a family sitting in an unheated home watching a Ted Danson movie. After establishing that the family was not part of the suicide bomber cell, Born then tried to persuade the adults to vote.
"We have no gas, no kerosene, we care about that more than voting," a woman told him dismissively.
A man dressed in a T-shirt and gray sweats said there was no way he would vote. "They said anybody who votes will get their head cut off. I'd vote, but I'm scared to go vote," he said.
"But tell him his country needs him to go vote today," Born said to the interpreter before sprinting back across the field to the Stryker.
Born had planned to return to the polling sites, but soon he was dispatched to another raid in search of a suspected high-ranking insurgent. This raid targeted the al-Sabrine mosque, where insurgents have occasionally taken potshots at U.S. troops.
Across the street from the mosque was more graffiti warning voters they would be beheaded. Just before Born arrived, a dozen men fled the mosque, and Born and his men from C Company searched for them in houses in the area.
In each house, they also urged people to vote. Each time the people told them they were too afraid. "You guys are out here in Strykers; I just have a pistol, how am I going to fight the terrorists?" asked a man who said he worked for the Ministry of Electricity but declined to give his name. "And tomorrow, after the elections, you'll be gone from this neighborhood. Who will protect me then?"
It was 4 p.m. when Born finally made it back to a polling site, No. 34. Inside were 10 representatives of the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq and no voters. The director of the site, who declined to give his name because he said he was afraid, said about 60 people had voted that day, the last one an hour before.
Just then, Hamdin Majid, 70, walked in with her 9-year-old granddaughter, Marwa. Dressed in a black abaya, a garment that covered all but her face, Majid announced she had come "to vote for Allawi," a reference to interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
After showing her identification, Majid was given ballots for the national and provincial assembly and was led to the cardboard voting booth. "You are braver than a thousand men," Mario, the Iraqi interpreter, told her.
"I'm not scared of anybody," she said when asked why she decided to vote when others were too timid. "I just want a government."
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