Brandon Correa and Tim Apger were in this thing from the start, and now, four years later in Afghanistan, there’re still together.
The two made plans to join the Army National Guard when they were still in high school. It was an easy decision.
“I joined the Army National Guard when I was a senior in high school to pay for college expenses,” Correa said. “I chose the Army National Guard because I wanted to attend school and be a civilian while also performing duties as a soldier. If I would’ve gone Active Duty, I would have been away from my family and would not have the chance to take college courses and fulfill civilian life goals.”
He took some classes at Eastern Michigan University before reaching the next stage of his Army life.
Apger remembers his enlistment date: July 11, 2007, between his junior and senior year, and he, also, was looking for financial help with school.
After high school, both completed basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, Mo., for five months and were later assigned to the 1776th MP CO out of Taylor, Mich. Their training was for military police work.
After drilling with the Guard unit, orders for active duty arrived in 2010 and both men received mobilization training at Ft. Bliss, Texas, to prepare for assignment in Afghanistan.
That came as no surprise.
“When enlisting I knew 100 percent that I would be deployed,” Apger said. “That’s was the risk of becoming an MP, but that didn’t bother me. It was something I wanted and knew that it would look good on a résumé.”
Now, thousands of miles from home, the two buddies are still in the same company, although serving in different platoons. And they still see one another often.
“For two years we thought the deployment to come was going to consist of convoy security and PTT (police training team),” Apger said. “Now here I am working at the DFIP (detention facility in Parwin).“
His main missions are custody and control of detained personal and to train the Afghan National Army.
He also had the excitement of working with a group of marines on a large escort mission.
Correa has different duties.
“My duties consist of providing security in the northeastern region of Afghanistan,” he explained. “My work day consists of a 12-hour shift, six days a week with varying duties. Some of the positions include guarding a detention facility and QRF (Quick Reaction Force) which is a first response team dedicated to outer perimeter security and counter enemy assault.”
Both expect to return home in October to resume civilian life, along with completing a six-year obligation to the military that will end in December 2013. Neither expects to re-enlist.
“I have accumulated skills and training that will help me in my future profession,” Correa said. “Being a military police has greatly advanced my knowledge with both corrections and police work that I plan on using in my career as a police officer.”
The decision they made back in high school still stands as a good one.
“I am glad that I made the choice to join the Army National Guard,” Correa said. “I’ve come across many opportunities that I would not have received otherwise. I have gained a lot of knowledge and skills and have been many places being a soldier in the Army.”