We’re proud to help support our troops through projects like the Lima Company Memorial and through outreach campaigns like this one – a recent t-shirt fundraiser for members of the Highlanders Company in Afghanistan. To help support our troops there, R+L Carriers gathered up funds, designed t-shirts and then shipped them to all the members of the Highlanders Company. They made a big splash on our Facebook page the day the t-shirts were received!
We chatted virtually with Captain Scott Eden about the shirts, his company, and the meaning behind the outreach. Here’s our interview with him:
How long has your company been in Afghanistan?
Our company has been in Afghanistan now for roughly 6 months of our 9 month deployment.
What is the history of the Highlanders?
The Highlanders are the Headquarters Company for 2nd Brigade 2nd Infantry Division, our company’s history mirrors that of the brigade as a whole. 2-2 was originally stood up for active duty as 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Travis, Texas.
The company was reconstituted and activated on Feb. 15, 1963 at Fort Benning, GA. where it followed 1st Brigade to the Republic of Korea in 1965, which is where the Brigade served until 2004. In May of 2004, 2-2ID received order to deploy to Iraq. This would be the first time the Brigade would see combat since the Korean War. From Aug 2004-Aug 2005 2-2 saw active combat from Ramadi to Fallujah to Baghdad before redeploying to Fort Carson, Colorado.
In October 2006, the newly modular 2d Brigade Combat Team, 2d Infantry Division returned to Iraq as part of Operation Iraq Freedom. On its return, the Brigade destroyed the insurgency in Ramadi, as well as serving in other areas such as West Baghdad and Sadr City. Two Soldiers in the Brigade earned the Distinguished Service Cross for actions during this tour. (On a personal note, I deployed with 2-2 in 2006 out of Fort Carson. Somewhat of a coincidence since I am now deployed with 2-2 out of Fort Lewis).
2nd Brigade is currently a Stryker Brigade Combat Team composed of roughly 4500 Soldiers spread out through six battalions and five separate companies. We are currently 6 months into our 9 month deployment to Afghanistan. My Company is currently in Kandahar and the Brigade’s Area of Operations is Southern Afghanistan.
How did R+L Carriers become involved in providing the t-shirts?
R+L first became involved through employee Corky Wyrick who heard that we were trying to find ways to buy Company shirts for the Soldiers. I was trying to find ways to fund the purchase to avoid charging members an arm and a leg. I believe your president then heard about it and quickly volunteered to donate. Shortly after the individual service centers began taking collections and within a week or two we not only had the funds to reduce the cost, we had enough to hand each Soldier a shirt for free.
How were the shirts received by your company?
Company shirts are one of the few ways Soldiers are able to show pride in their unit. Up until now, the Highlanders have never had a company t-shirt, which is why we really wanted to make this happen. The Soldiers have responded very well to the t-shirts. Furthermore, the first day we were able to wear them I received multiple from compliments from personnel OUTSIDE our unit. We’ve also had some people ask to buy some. When Soldiers receive comments like that it builds even more pride in what they’re doing. As I’m sure R+L Carriers leadership would agree, when subordinates have a sense of pride in their company their performance improves. The Army, and specifically my Soldiers, are no exception.
Tell us about your company
My company is the largest in the Brigade with over 250 Soldiers. It is also the most diverse and complex company given how many different kinds of Soldiers and missions we have. Our company includes 18 year old privates and every rank up to Colonel. Not everything we do is work though, and these shirts are generally worn during physical training or down time. Recently we had a group of our Soldiers win a volleyball tournament on camp. We also have an intermural basketball league and our team finished the regular season undefeated!! Anytime my Soldiers get the chance to do something like these events they always put there shirts on. It shows unit pride, but also works kind of like a make-shift jersey.
Do you have a message for the folks back home?
My message to the folks back home (specifically everyone at R+L Carriers) would be thank you. Thank you for the overwhelming support you’ve shown us. You guys are the reason we do what we do. The support you’ve given us maintains the connection between our military and the citizens we fight to protect. Like any relationship, it must be maintained. I can tell my Soldiers that I appreciate what they do every day, but when those from home do so it makes all the difference in the world for their morale. Now I can tell them they are appreciated and SHOW them how many people feel the same way.
CPT Scott Eden