By Sgt. 1st Class Jeffery Gaines
CAMP TAJI, Iraq – When observing the capabilities of the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, it is easy to focus solely on the different type of aircraft the unit flies. What is not so obvious is the behind the scenes, inner workings of the battalion staff sections. These sections are responsible for providing the battalion pilots with what they need to be successful.
Spc. Kimberly Vanhouten, a native of Tonopah, Nev., is one of the many Soldiers who help keep these staff sections running smoothly. Vanhouten works to provide the battalion with a network of computers, switches, routers and cabling. As a network technician, she is constantly being called upon to solve issues on the network system and is an integral part of planning the information technology infrastructure. Since being deployed to Iraq this March, Vanhouten has already gained the attention of her unit’s senior leaders.
“Spc. Vanhouten is a positive influence in my unit,” said Capt. Kirsten Bergman, Vanhouten’s company commander. “She has a great can-do spirit and uses that energy to help her peers.”
On April 14, Vanhouten re-enlisted; an act she attributes to her family history.
“I come from a family of veterans, so my decision to enlist in the Army was an easy one. The opportunity for training, college education and travel were all factors taken into consideration,” said Vanhouten. “I knew I wanted to re-enlist today to continue doing what I have grown to love.”
As part of her re-enlistment incentives, Vanhouten will receive a cash bonus and an assignment to Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Further on in her military career, Vanhouten plans to become a warrant officer in the IT field. However, while Vanhouten looks forward to the future, her mission with 2-1 GSAB is not yet complete – her unit is projected to be deployed at Camp Taji throughout the next year.
“I’m looking forward to moving on to Fort Huachuca, although I’m thoroughly enjoying my stay with the ‘Fighting Eagles’ [2-1 GSAB] family. This has been a truly rewarding assignment, and I am proud to have been a part of this organization,” said Vanhouten.
Vanhouten and hundreds of other support Soldiers will keep 2-1 GSAB, and the rest of the Combat Aviation Brigade battalions, up and running during this deployment, enabling the brigade to conduct operations in support of U.S. and Iraqi ground forces.