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Collinsville, Oklahoma
April 7, 2007
First Sergeant Kelly Wathor Back From Iraq
Local Resident Home From Iraq
Awarded Bronze Star

For exceptional meritorious service as a Civil Affairs Company First Sergeant, Charlie Company, 489th Civil Affairs Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom rotation 06-08 for the time period 24 April 2006 to 17 April 2007.

First Sergeant Wathor was "hand picked" to take over the position of Company First Sergeant during the most turbulent time of the Company's deployment. He assumed responsibilities immediately following a devastating enemy attack against the Company during the first week in the combat theater. First Sergeant Wathor demonstrated outstanding leadership in building the confidence of his Soldiers, and epitomized "leading by example" by personally conducting initial patrols within 48 hours of the attack. He led his Soldiers back out on the road and served as a catalyst which forged the determination and 'will' to continue our mission. First Sergeant Wathor demonstrated extraordinary tactical competence while performing security missions during site assessments and patrols. He has personally planned, coordinated and led logistical package movements to destinations as far away as Baghdad, 75 miles north of Al-Hillah. First Sergeant Wathor has also led his crew in night operations, conducting vehicle searches and providing first aid to Iraqi citizens encountered during patrols; he has participated in over 50 patrols in the combat zone covering over 1,700 miles. First Sergeant Wathor responded and directed medical treatment and medical evacuation of Soldiers and locally employed staff during more than 20 Indirect Fire attacks on the Regional Embassy Office (REO) and personally assisted with the treatment of a gunshot wound to a local national during one Escalation of Force incident.

While serving as the Advance Team NCOIC for the company, First Sergeant Wathor played a pivotal role in finalizing the development of our RIP/TOA training plan. He demonstrated outstanding knowledge of the company's posture and training readiness by ensuring the tasks were appropriate and the necessary resources were available. He also guided the company supply sergeant in acquiring upgrades to personal protective equipment, which was in severe shortage upon our arrival; an extremely important morale building effort for the company during it's initial days in a combat theater; First Sergeant Wathor is without a doubt, an absolute professional that has benefited this entire command, he is an asset and a true professional in every respect. He has provided excellent mentorship to Soldiers, Noncommissioned Officers and Officers during the entire deployment sharing his knowledge and offering insight on matters of professional development and career progression ensuring they had the requisite tools to become better leaders. He ensured that junior Soldiers were given opportunities to develop their leader skills by directing that they plan, coordinate, and supervise patrols; his efforts ensured that any Soldier within the command could take charge and lead, this was a strength which was tested and proved practical in a combat environment. He facilitated an ambitious Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Program and led the NCOs in assisting the planning and execution of Base Defense Plan rehearsals. During numerous Indirect Fire attacks the Base Defense Plan was executed and First Sergeant Wathor was always in the forefront, acting, giving direction and serving as a solid example for the Soldiers of this command. He demonstrated exemplary supervisory skills by insisting on maintenance management and maintenance training as an NCO task and ensured maintenance was conducted every single day of the deployment, a noteworthy achievement.

First Sergeant Wathor has taken a Company, comprised of Soldiers who did not meet until nearly two months prior to deployment, and built an outstanding unit. First Sergeant Wathor has done a truly outstanding job inspiring Soldiers and running this company. Every aspect of his performance has been characterized by an unequalled standard of excellence. Upon arrival in theater, he demonstrated true dedication by devoting countless hours to personally tracking the location of unit pallets, and arranging their transportation and timely delivery; he gets less sleep and continues to do more than anyone in the command and never complains; he just drives on. He has continued to be a 'pillar of support' to the Junior Enlisted Soldiers, Noncommissioned Officers and Officers of this command. His untiring efforts in building and caring for a cohesive team facilitated the Command in building Provincial capacity and establishing security for the citizens of Babil Province.

Identifying the need for Soldier's well being, First Sergeant Wathor enlisted the support of the "Blue Star Mothers" to send care packages of various toiletry items that were unavailable for local purchase at the remote location of the REO. These personalized deliveries were an integral part in boosting the morale of the deployed Soldiers of the Company. He always ensured that the welfare of his Soldiers was paramount. He personally developed and monitored the Environmental Morale Leave (EML) and R & R pass program to ensure every Soldier of this command took leave. In addition, he tirelessly worked to ensure each Soldier was properly recognized for their accomplishments on the battlefield. He further recognized Soldier and Company achievements with written news items which he published in the Battalion newsletters in theater and back at the home unit.

First Sergeant Wathor's outstanding leadership, professionalism, technical and tactical competence significantly contributed to successfully providing Civil Military Operations (CMO) support to the Babil Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), and the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and managing the day to day operations of the company in a combat zone.

First Sergeant Wathor's performance is in keeping with the finest military traditions and his actions reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, the 414th Civil Affairs Battalion, and the United States Army.

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Ted Wright -- last update 4/7/2007 (WathorBackFromIraq.html)

Copyright 2007 -- Collinsville, Oklahoma
You have had articles about my brother Kelly since he started his deployment to Iraq last year. Here is an update about his homecoming and his bronze star he was awarded. We are very proud of him, and so glad he is home safely. He touched U.S. soil on April 1st. Thank you to everyone who prayed for him and donated money and items to send to him.
At appears that his next assignment may be in Ft Richardson, Alaska.
Thanks -- Tina Beaver -- Catoosa, OK