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U.S. Army Capt. Donald William Carden
Paratrooper’s First Day Fraught with Fire
By Sgt. Marcus Butler
4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne)
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs
ISKANDARIYAH, Iraq, Jan. 29, 2007 — For most war veterans, stories portraying life experiences are a collaboration of different events that span years and years of fighting.

"It has been a fast few weeks here. I am looking forward to see what happens in the days to come."
Capt. Donald Carden

Capt. Donald William Carden, a paratrooper, had his share of war stories to tell after his first day on the job here.

The native of Radford, Va., deployed with the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. For a few months, he worked out of the Forward Operating Base Kalsu, Iraq. He was then moved to this remote operating base to support the military transition team stationed on the Iraqi compound adjacent to the base.

With less than a week's notice, Carden was packed up, on a helicopter and on his way to his new home with MiTT 248.

"This was the best course of action for the brigade and a great opportunity for me," said Carden. Carden came to the team on the heels of tragedy, the team had lost two of its original members to an improvised explosive attack. The captain stepped in without missing a beat.

"I can't imagine how hard it must be for someone to join a team knowing the situation they are entering," said Maj. Philip

T. Piaget, MiTT 248's team chief. "Regardless ... Capt. Carden came in saying I am here for however long you need me."

Carden's role on the team is to advise the Iraqi Army Headquarters Company, the scout platoon and the mortar platoon.

On his first day on the job, Carden and his team were ambushed by insurgents. They narrowly missed an improvised explosive device that detonated right in front of Carden's vehicle and left a blast crater eight feet wide and six feet deep.

After a harrowing inaugural mission, Carden has become a valued member of MiTT 248.

"Capt. Carden didn't come to Iraq looking to be on a MiTT, but he has the maturity, personality, and the technical and tactical skills needed for this job," said Piaget. "He is well liked by the MTT members and also by the Iraqis, which is very important."

Working with the Iraqi army on a day-to-day basis is something that most soldiers will never experience. However, for the MiTT members, it is a way of life.

"The Iraqi army soldiers are some of the most professional and proficient individuals I have ever worked with," said Carden. "At the soldier level, each and every person knows their job and does it very well."

In transition from one assignment to another, there is usually some downtime so the soldier can get settled in. Unfortunately, Carden did not have that luxury.

“It has been a fast few weeks here," said Carden. "I am looking forward to see what happens in the days to come."

Last Updated:
01/29/2007, Eastern Daylight Time
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