Wisconsin Guardsmen hold the hill in Iraq - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wisconsin Guardsmen hold the hill in Iraq

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Spc. Stephan Mcessey, Fond du Lac, keeps watch from the outpost atop of Safwan Hill. Mcessey and other Company C soldiers provide a bird’s-eye view for troops down below. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure. Spc. Stephan Mcessey, Fond du Lac, keeps watch from the outpost atop of Safwan Hill. Mcessey and other Company C soldiers provide a bird’s-eye view for troops down below. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure.
Pfc. Kevin Lewis, Kaukauna, mans an M-240B machine gun at one of the guard towers on Safwan Hill. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure. Pfc. Kevin Lewis, Kaukauna, mans an M-240B machine gun at one of the guard towers on Safwan Hill. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure.
The brothers of Safwan Hill: Spc. Kyle Bestul (right) and Spc. Kory (left) of New Holstein. The brothers enjoy their time on the hill and see it as a chance to hang out together. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure. The brothers of Safwan Hill: Spc. Kyle Bestul (right) and Spc. Kory (left) of New Holstein. The brothers enjoy their time on the hill and see it as a chance to hang out together. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure.
The makeshift weight room on top of Safwan Hill. Soldiers living on the hill have to give up the comforts found on the larger Forward Operating Bases. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure. The makeshift weight room on top of Safwan Hill. Soldiers living on the hill have to give up the comforts found on the larger Forward Operating Bases. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure.
Sgt. William Poor (left), Juneau, shows Command Sgt. Maj. Edgar Hansen (right) around the outpost. Poor is responsible for operations on Safwan Hill. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure. Sgt. William Poor (left), Juneau, shows Command Sgt. Maj. Edgar Hansen (right) around the outpost. Poor is responsible for operations on Safwan Hill. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tyler Lasure.
by Spc. Tyler Lasure
32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team

CAMP BUCCA, Iraq (PRESS RELEASE) -- From atop one of the only hills in southern Iraq, a team of Wisconsin National Guardsmen keeps a watchful eye over the surrounding area.

Soldiers of Company C, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, Fond du Lac, and Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-127, Appleton, man an outpost on Safwan Hill, far from the comforts of nearby Camp Bucca. The soldiers on the hill provide security for communications towers there and have a birds-eye view to help other units in the area.

"Having that overhead view is a real good thing for the guys on the ground," said Spc. James Hegner, an infantryman with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-127. "Knowing that we've checked it out beforehand, I think gives them more of a warm and fuzzy on the inside."

Life on top of the hill is different than life back at camp. Soldiers on Safwan Hill don't have the comforts of camp life: there isn't a large chow hall like the base has, instead soldiers rely on one cook; there is no conventional gym, instead soldiers set up a bench press and rack of dumbbells; there aren't enough rooms for spacious living quarters, instead soldiers sleep six or more in a room.

Even with all these inconveniences, soldiers enjoy their time away from the base. "I really enjoy that it's small, you are away from the flagpole," said Staff Sgt. William Poor from Juneau, Wis., the noncommissioned officer in charge of the hill, and a squad leader for Company C. "I'm in charge of the entire hill; it's great to be in charge of something again."

For two soldiers in Poor's squad, manning the hill is a family affair. Spc. Kyle Bestul and Spc. Kory Bestul are brothers from Marytown, Wis., who work at the outpost together.

"It's a good time, I enjoy it, he is an interesting character," said Kory, an infantryman with Company C, 2-127, about working with his brother.

"It's pretty sweet actually, I get to hang out with him," added Kyle, who serves in the same company.

These soldiers will continue to watch over the area until their return to Wisconsin sometime in January 2010.

Online Reporter: Kelsi Schindler

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