Serving his country, Joshua Allen Bledsoe, 25, enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard at the age of 19 and completed a nine-month tour in Iraq.
“I was in high school when I signed up and after graduation I went for my advanced individual training at Fort Benning, Ga. in 2008.
Honorably discharged in Octobter 2013, Bledsoe obtained the rank of Specialist E-4.
While a member of the Army National Guard, Bledsoe was deployed to Iraq with the 1st and 149th Division of the Army National Guard in 2011. He was stationed at an Air Force Base in Bilad where he did convoy security.
“I flew out of Camp Atterbury in Indiana to Kuwait,” said Bledsoe. “We spent two weeks in Kuwait and then flew by AC-130 to Iraq.”
Bledsoe said working as convoy security his unit was in charge of moving equipment out of Iraq so that the bases there could be closed. He said they also transported food to bases still open “to keep things going.”
“Priority was to get all the equipment we were using out of Iraq so that the bases could be shut down and handed over to the Iraqi government,” said Bledsoe.
Spending nine months in Iraq, Bledsoe returned home in December 2011. During his service he said the two commendations he was most proud to have received were the Army Commendation Medal and Combat Infantry Badge, which means you have seen combat.
Bledsoe recalled one particular incident while in Iraq where he was ambushed. He said it was his first mission, and on his birthday, when he lost one of his buddies, who was “blown up” during an ambush where he received a concussion and a broken wrist.
“I didn’t get hit, I had a rocket go over my head causing a concussion and a broken wrist,” said Bledsoe. “I was a gunner in the lead truck and we saw some Iraqi troops watching us. We drove on down the road taking some small arms fire and some mortars and we pushed through. We came to a dark curve in the road that looked suspicious, but we pushed through and the first three trucks made it through when the next truck was hit by rockets blowing it up. It’s something you never forget.”
Choosing to enlist in the Army National Guard, Bledsoe said he felt “it was the noble thing to do.”
“Personally, I think serving one’s country is something everybody needs to do once in their life,” said Bledsoe. “Everybody should put in time to serve their country. I did my time and then I got out.”
Bledsoe and his wife, Abra, reside at Teetersville. He has three stepchildren, Caylin, Taylor and Harrison McHargue.
Reach Nola Sizemore at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, firstname.lastname@example.org