Tuesday, February 17, 2009

In the Desert Sands of Iraq

My name is Spc. Leah Ann Rowell, and I am a paralegal specialist working in the Brigade’s legal section. I am extremely lucky to work under two awesome Judge Advocates (JA’s), Brigade Trial Counsel Major J. Wriley McKeown and Brigade Judge Advocate Major Brian Blankenship. My Noncommissioned Officer in Charge is Staff Sgt. Kristian Hall, and I am fortunate to have him as my first line supervisor. The pros of Staff Sgt. Hall are that he is there for me 24/7, always brags about my accomplishments at any time to anyone that is willing to listen, keeps me on the straight and narrow, helps me gain experience in my job, teaches me so much about everything not just about being a paralegal but also about being a good soldier and gaining the respect and confidence in others. The cons of Staff Sgt. Hall are very limited but he does drive me up the wall with his Star Wars memorabilia placed all over his section of the office, and I want to rip my ears off from the steady nonstop playing of his old school rock music he calls “classics.” Needless to say, the pros outweigh the cons, even though I enjoy living day to day driving him crazy, Staff Sgt. Hall is indeed the best NCOIC I could have in this unit, and I appreciate everything he does for me.

I am known as the goofball in my unit. I am always doing something silly, I am a huge KLUTS. I will trip over my own two feet walking on flat land. I will pull pranks on people and just randomly start dancing anywhere I feel like. The thing about me is I know when to have fun. There’s a time in the Army when you have to conduct yourself as a professional and have a strong military bearing. I have proven people wrong time and time again that I can be as silly as I am and still be a squared away soldier. While in pre-mobilization training at Fort Bragg, N.C., I received a Certificate of Achievement from XVIII Airborne Corps’ legal office for my hard work in support of military justice. Upon arriving in theater, I volunteered to be a part of the Color Guard with my unit, and I was a rifleman in our Transfer of Authority Ceremony November 29, 2008. There was also a Soldier of the Quarter Board my NCOIC talked me into competing in. I was so hard headed and stubborn on preparing for this; I finally agreed to participate two weeks prior to the board. I studied for those two weeks and my hard work was paid off. I won Headquarters Company’s Soldier of the Quarter. I then went on to participate in Brigade’s Soldier of the Quarter and won that position as well. Per my Command Sergeant Major, I will be receiving an Army Commendation Medal and an Army Achievement Medal for my successes at both boards. It just goes to show that being in the Army you can still be a professional and have a little fun and personality.

I am preparing right now to go on leave, Rest and Relaxation. I plan to go home to Fort Bragg, N.C. and have as much fun as possible with my family and friends. I am more excited to see my nieces and nephews, Cody, Jaylin, Ember and Kyndal, and I have a niece on the way!

All in all, so far for my very first deployment overseas, my experience has been very positive. When I come back from R and R, I plan on continuing my mission as a paralegal for Task Force 449 JAG and look forward to coming home soon!

Spc. Leah Ann Rowell, a paralegal specialist assigned to 449 Theater Aviation Brigade, is serving in Baghdad, Iraq.

Rowell, a resident of Fayetteville, N.C., is a huge Patriots fan.


  1. Hi Lee Ann, with your job title just what is it that you do and how safe are you?

  2. Hi Lee Ann, Glad to see you are doing well. Tell Kris Paul says hi. I know Kris is a big Sabres fan and right now after the first period it is the Sabres 0 Hurricanes 0. Tell him he can expect the write up for the hockey game to be mailed over. Paul

  3. Hi Lee Ann. It sounds like even with your surroundings there in Iraq you have managed to keep a sense of humor no matter what. Remember there are many of us at home US who keep you in our prayers and thoughts daily and support all our fine soldiers. Currently, I have no family members there but I a niece who will be going within months. I'm going to refer her to your blog as I feel you are a trendous role model. Keep up the good work and good things will come your way. Enjoy your R & R.