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Face of Defense: Three Iraq Deployments Mold Supply Soldier

By Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 19, 2007 – Two days before Army Sgt. Janeice Capers graduated from advanced individual training, the Army -- and the world -- changed overnight. That's when terrorists attacked the United States and President Bush launched the war on terror.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Army Sgt. Janeice Capers, a Property Book Office clerk for 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, is serving her third tour at Camp Taji, Iraq. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert, USA

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

“I was in the (post exchange) getting my uniform done for graduation when I heard the news,” said Capers, a clerk in the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade Property Book Office. “It was a pivotal moment. I thought to myself, ‘I joined at the wrong time.’ I knew there would be a lot of adapting and changing.”

But having just completed basic training and her advanced training, she felt she was ready for those changes, she said.

“Something I embraced at basic was just rolling with it and adapting to the changes,” she said. “My mom (Jannie Pressley) was extremely supportive. I’m the youngest child, so she was worried about me joining the Army, but she was proud of me, and she knew I would do really well.”

Capers said she originally enlisted in the Army to get an education and to be employed.

“Later, I decided I wanted to stay in the Army, and I re-enlisted,” she said. That decision led to three deployments to Iraq -- all at Camp Taji.

“I knew that the deployment was coming (after 9/11),” she said. “I didn’t know what to expect. My mother was really nervous about it, but … she offered a lot of encouragement and prayers for us. I think that deployment molded me into what I am today. I’m not afraid to make changes in my life. I felt that I was more confident this time around and had a better understanding of what our mission would be.”

She dedicated herself to completing that mission, said Sgt. 1st Class Tammie Solomon, the logistics noncommissioned officer-in-charge for the division’s 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment. Capers had been assigned to battalion until moving to the brigade Property Book Office during this deployment.

“She is the most articulate, organized and neatest person I know,” Solomon said. “She did everything I expected from her. She never failed a mission. Any mission I ever gave her, she completed.”

Her mission, though conducted behind the scenes, plays a vital part in the brigade’s success during the deployment.

“There are so many different moving pieces within the supply section, and I think that we are the pulse of the unit,” she said. “Without us, there would be nothing – no boots, no ammo. I feel proud of that – that we contribute to the mission.”

Her family – including her half brother, Ramon Mayo – has been supportive of her during the deployments.

“(Ramon) was in 4th Infantry Division, I think, during Desert Storm,” she said. “He always e-mails me and tells me I’m his hero. I’m his little sister, so he kind of dotes on me.”

Deploying has changed her life in more ways than one, the soldier said. She became engaged to her husband, Spc. Daniel Capers of the 1-227th ARB, on her first deployment. The two have deployed together all three times.

Capers greets visitors to her office with a warm, infectious smile. Although she plans to get out of the Army next year and pursue a degree in computer science and a career as a film editor, she said she will continue to be grateful for the growth and the friendships the Army has provided.

“Since I have been here with this brigade, I have met some of the most amazing people,” she said. “They have made such a big impact on my life. Their support and encouragement make me feel more secure in taking this next step into the civilian world.”

(Army Sgt. 1st Class Rick Emert is assigned to 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Public Affairs.)

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