• July 24, 2014

Soldiers, school officials discuss graduation

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Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 12:00 pm

By Sgt. 1st Class Kap Kim

1st Cavalry Divison public affairs

BELTON - As a career soldier, Col. Tobin Green, commander of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, has had to spend a lot of his time away from his family due to training or deployed.

Birthdays, holidays, funerals, and during his last deployment to Iraq, his daughter's high school graduation.

Courteney Green, who is a U.S. Military Academy sophomore, graduated from Killeen High School in 2007. Her father, then a lieutenant colonel and who served as the division's deputy operations officer, watched his daughter walk across the stage during graduation from a video teleconference monitor while deployed to Iraq.

Though it wasn't easy to be away from his children's major events such as a graduation, Susan Green, his wife, said he is really with them - just from a far away land.

Video teleconference technology allowed Tobin and more than 50 other soldiers watch their children graduate during the division's last Iraq deployment, however, it is a cooperative effort between the school districts and the division's communications soldiers.

So, as the division's soldiers are deployed again through graduation season, more than 30 representatives from four different independent school districts throughout Central Texas got together with the division's rear detachment command March 31 at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton to discuss plans for the upcoming graduation ceremonies this summer.

There are about 50 students of deployed 1st Cavalry soldier graduating this year at the Expo Center. Graduations from Belton, Temple, Killeen, Harker Heights and Copperas Cove will be broadcast to about 15 different bases throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea.

"This is so important because it's all about readiness and taking care of the soldiers," said Maj. James Clarke, who works in the division's operations office. "We owe it to our soldiers to do everything possible to bring normalcy to what they would have back home."

The Expo Center has private rooms set up with a video teleconference for each of the children to be able to see and speak to their deployed parents.

Like his father and sister, Conner Green, a Killeen High School senior, received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy. And, like his sister, his father will miss his high school graduation in June.

"It is kind of sad to know that he won't be there, but I am much happier that he is doing his job in Iraq," Conner said. "Him watching my graduation from Iraq means a lot to me, and it says a lot about the efforts of the U.S. Army, KISD and other schools to make it easier on military 'brats.' It won't be quite the same as having him there physically, but I know that the Army, my school, and my father do the best that they can do, and that is what matters most."

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