Personal Connection to the State of the Union
One of the people in the First Lady’s Box at last night’s State of the Union Address was Army Staff Sgt. Craig Charloux, and old high school friend of mine from Maine. He couldn’t make our 20th reunion this past summer because he was in Iraq. Here’s more about Craig:
After leaving the military, Charloux owned an automobile repair shop in Hermon, [Maine] and later re-enlisted in the Army in 2005. In total to date, he has served nine years in the military.
His re-enlistment “was a result of 9-11, and the other reason I came back in the Army was because I was missing the Army,” he said Monday.
Once back serving in the U.S. Army, Charloux was assigned to the 1st Calvary Division out of Fort Hood, Texas. He deployed for 14 months to Diyala Province, Iraq, in 2006, where he served as a squad leader in an Armored Reconnaissance Squadron. Charloux’s squad was ambushed during a raid in September 2007, and his arm, face, eyes and leg were injured by two grenade blasts. Despite his wounds, Charloux called for a medical evacuation of his soldiers and the raid collected a large quantity of enemy weapons and explosives and resulted in the deaths of eight al-Qaida operatives.
Charloux has received two National Defense Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, an Army Good Conduct Medal and soon will be awarded a Purple Heart for his service. Although wounded in combat, Charloux did not leave Iraq immediately, and only reunited with his wife, Bobbi Jo, and son, Stephen, 9, at the end of his deployment on Nov. 26, 2007….
When asked to weigh in on troop withdrawals and some of the timelines outlined by campaigning presidential candidates, Charloux responded, “As an NCO [non-commissioned officer] in the U.S. Army I concentrate on the duties of my soldiers and perform the mission given to me.”
I’m proud to know him.