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June 23, 2013

Norman Guardsman recognized at training

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — A Norman soldier recently set himself apart from about 170 other members of the 45th Fires Brigade, Oklahoma Army National Guard who participated in a national warfighter exercise from June 2-16.

Spc. Stephen Dragoo, 21, a member of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, was named the brigade’s “Red Thunder Hero of the Day” on June 6.

The 45th FiB leadership decided early in the exercise to recognize one soldier each day who goes above and beyond the call of duty or who stands out among his or her peers.

According to 45th FiB Operations Sgt. Major James Crabtree, Dragoo easily fit the description.

“This soldier has assisted many sections before and during the exercise in a professional manner,” said Crabtree, Dragoo’s senior enlisted supervisor in the 45th FiB’s tactical operations center.

“He has worked as the main ‘Command Post of the Future’ operator for the operations and assisted other soldiers with their individual tasks, while at the same time maintaining all the tasks within his own section,” Crabtree said.

Dragoo accomplished all this while maintaining a positive attitude, Crabtree said.

The field artillery tactical data system specialist has been in the Guard since December 2008 and is attending his third annual training exercise with the 45th FiB. He said he first joined the brigade during their annual training exercise at Camp Shelby, Miss.

Dragoo said he joined the Guard because his life “wasn’t going anywhere,” adding, “I didn’t want to go down that road.”

Plus, he said, “I really liked the college benefits the Guard offered.”

As for the training he’s received at this year’s warfighter — a computer-simulated exercise involving about 2,300 soldiers representing 17 units from 14 states and three countries — Dragoo said he’s really gaining a lot out of it from a training perspective.

“I like it,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to see an entire division working together with the supporting units.”

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