Boyertown's Brandon Bodor is seeing the world.The 25-year-old borough native and Army soldier has been through many parts of the United States and different areas of the world.
In late 2008, Bodor took a leave of service for the holidays so he could visit home and be reunited with his wife.
"I returned to my wife, Alison, in Germany on Oct. 26, which happened to be her birthday, so that was really special. Prior to that, I hadn't seen her for 10 months, when I was home for my mid-tour leave to visit her in Chicago, as well as my parents in Boyertown," he said.
With his Thanksgiving leave approaching, he prepared for coming back to the United States.
"We had a much-reduced work schedule leading up to Thanksgiving, and then a block leave period from Thanksgiving until the New Year," he said.
"Alison and I returned to the States for 10 days around Christmas, and split time between my family in Boyertown, and hers in Indiana," he said. "At the conclusion of our time in the States, both of our families convened in Ohio for a large dinner."
He said he enjoyed his time in Boyertown, visiting his family.
"The homecoming was nothing short of amazing. After 15 months of working every day with high stress and very irregular hours, a huge burden was lifted as we stepped off the plane in Nuremberg and into normalcy again," Bodor said of returning to his parents and family.
After graduating from Boyertown Area High School in 2001, and four years later from West Point, Bodor went to Fort Knox for officer's training.
While at Fort Knox, he trained towards becoming an Army officer.
"After Fort Knox I went to Fort Benning to complete the U.S. Army Ranger School before arriving to Vilseck, Germany to join my unit, the second Stryker Cavalry Regiment, in August 2006,"
Bodor said through e-mail after the holidays. "After a year of training, second SCR deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom for a 15-month tour."
He thanked the Berks County area for sending care packages and letters.
"I spent the first 8 months as a scout platoon leader in a volatile area of southern Baghdad, known as Dora," Bodor remembered. "For the last 7 months of the deployment, our unit moved to Baqubah in the Diyala Province north of Baghdad, where I served as a squadron assistant intelligence officer."
"While we always remained focused on the mission of protecting the Iraqi populace and developing the Iraqi Security Forces, the most memorable part of the Iraq deployment, for me, was the amount of camaraderie that is fostered," he said. "Several members of the second SCR lost their lives during the 15 months, and many more were injured."
He said the company has spent a lot of time connecting to each other over the months.
"It is a family-like connection, different, but certainly as deep," Bodor reflected.
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