US Army Veteran Mark Stone joined the military to serve our nation and for a little adventure. The struggles he overcame and the internal depths he encountered during his deployments left a significant impression on his life. After four separate deployments to Iraq and 26 total years of service, he still misses it all.
In 1983 Mark enlisted as an infantry soldier as a heavy anti-tank missile gunner, which helped pay for his college tuition. After completing his college degree. He received his commission as a 2nd Lieutenant infantry officer (11A) and started his career path as an infantry platoon leader with the 5-16 Devil Ranger Battalion, 1st Infantry Division (Big Red One). Within months, Desert Storm kicked off, and he was leading his platoon in combat against Iraqi units. Over the following years, Mark served in various positions from battalion, brigade, joint-level commands and received specialized training in logistics, program management and contingency contracting.
On September 11th, 2001 he was in Egypt training with the Egyptian Army for Operation Bright Star. Within a couple of months, he found himself in Northern Afghanistan during the invasion supporting various military elements. After several months in Afghanistan, he returned to the US and would again deploy in Kuwait in preparation for the Invasion of Iraq. Mark followed the invasion force on March 2003 sweeping through the cities of Najaf, Bagdad, and to their final target to capture an Iraqi Airbase in Balad. After about 12 months, he returned to the states for his new assignment with the Stryker Brigade (172nd Arctic Wolves) at Fort Wainwright, Alaska. Just his luck, the new unit was preparing to deploy to Iraq. This time Mark found himself on a sixteen-month combat rotation that would take him through Mosul and Bagdad, Iraq.
In 2009, Mark retired from the Army to focus on starting his family and being a stay-at-home dad for his son. A couple of years later, he started another career as a DoD civilian working for a Combat Support Agency. The second career path allowed him to still serve our nation with other veterans like himself.
Outside of his service in the Army and his civilian life, Mark was involved with the Cub Scouts and is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and American Legion. Last year, he worked with a loose network of veterans operating an “Underground Railroad” of sorts that managed to organize and gather those Afghan families that worked for US military and fly them out of danger after the US military pulled out of Afghanistan. Two of his Afghan interpreter families made it out safely, starting new lives in the United States and Canada.
Branch Partner Ryan Charles from our ALCOVA Mortgage Midlothian, VA branch was honored to present Mark with his Hometown Hero award.
*Pictured left to right: Ryan Charles and Mark Stone.
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