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Face of Defense: Lieutenant Mentors Soldiers

By Army Spc. Amanda McBride
Special to American Forces Press Service

FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq, June 24, 2008 – “A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go, but ought to be,” said Rosalynn Carter, wife of former President Jimmy Carter.

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Army 1st Lt. Carolyn Frazier, left, speaks to her soldiers before leaving on a combat logistical patrol on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, June 13, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Amanda McBride
  

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For Army 1st Lt. Carolyn Frazier, a 3rd Infantry Division platoon leader in Company A, 703rd Brigade Support Battalion, this challenge is both figurative and literal.

Frazier and her team ensure soldiers in five provinces of southern Iraq receive the supplies and equipment they need. These supplies range from food, petroleum, oil and lubricants to ammunition, water and medical supplies.

Leaders in a role like Frazier’s must work to keep morale high and motivation strong in soldiers who face danger every time they roll out the gate in a convoy. The battalion’s customers are spread across more than 40,000 square miles of potentially hostile territory in an area spanning from Baghdad to the Saudi Arabian border.

Frazier said the key to survival is the knowledge they are all out there together.

“We all prepare for missions together, travel together and get to the destination together; it is really important for everybody to be on the same page about what’s going on,” Frazier said. “To dig deep and find motivation is harder some days than others. But my motivation is going out with these guys and doing what they do. … They motivate me.”

Frazier is a transportation officer who transferred over to 703rd BSB after being a distribution platoon leader for 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, from the start of the unit’s deployment. Frazier took on the new job as platoon leader knowing it would be a challenge.

“When I first got here, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do in regards to the technical aspects of being a platoon leader in the [Supply Support Activity],” Frazier said. With help from her soldiers, Frazier learned how to process, issue and distribute supplies for their customers’ access.

“It has actually been a neat transition, because I have actually learned through my soldiers,” Frazier said. “They taught me that a change in jobs isn’t a bad thing, and that working on a [forward operating base] is very important. … The mission here is very crucial.”

Frazier leads and cares for more than 25 soldiers.

“My job as the [officer in charge], with the assistance of my platoon sergeant, is to take care of the soldiers — their family, health and well-being,” Frazier said. “It has always been very important in my family that we watch out for each other, and I feel the same here.”

(Army Spc. Amanda McBride serves in the 3rd Infantry Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageArmy 1st Lt. Carolyn Frazier, right, goes over an inventory list with one of her noncomissioned officers a day before a combat logistical patrol on Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq, June 12, 2008. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Amanda McBride  
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