Family Bond Propels Cavalry Soldiers
(April 20, 2011)
Sgt. Daniel Stoddard, a resident of Milton-Freewater,
Ore., and a member of F Company, 3rd Battalion,
116th Cavalry Regiment, 77th Sustainment
Brigade, 310th Sustainment Command
(Expeditionary) receives the Combat
Infantryman's Badge during a ceremony at Joint
Base Balad on March 10, 2011.
Pfc. Zac Stoddard, a driver with 1st platoon,
Company F, 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry
Regiment, 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 310th
Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), strums a
guitar during his free time at Joint Base Balad,
Iraq on April 11, 2011.
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (4/17/2011) – They were
always clearly identifiable, the older sibling
and his kid brother, and though they traveled
down separate roads to Iraq, they stand as a
sound example of the eternal bond generated
during childhood that survives and prospers.
The Stoddard brothers, 20-year-old Zac and
23-year-old Daniel, share not only the
distinction of their ancestry, but they are also
members of the same unit – Company Foxtrot, 3rd
Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment, 77th
Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary
Sustainment Command, stationed at Joint Base
They are also a study in
Zac, a private first class and
Daniel, a sergeant, traveled to Iraq with F
Company down different paths. Daniel is quiet,
laid back and exudes the attitude of a two-tour
veteran. Zac, on his first tour in Iraq, is more
They grew up together until
Daniel left at the age of 12 to live with their
father. Zac stayed behind with his mom.
While their father and, by extension, Daniel
stayed rooted to Touchet, Wash., Zac said he and
his mom moved around, eventually settling in
They are in different
platoons within F Company and perform different
jobs connected to their individual rank. Daniel
is a truck commander within 2nd Platoon's 2nd
Convoy Escort Team, while Zac is a driver in 1st
Daniel, who now lives in Milton-Freewater,
Ore., said he takes a low-key approach to the
fact he and his kid brother are in the same
company. Yet, he said he enjoys the fact his
brother is nearby.
“I like it, it is a
good way to keep track of him,” Daniel said. He
said that he does not worry about how his
brother will do in his CET.
good non-commissioned officers in Zac's
platoon,” Daniel said. “I know they take good
care of him. It makes my dad feel safer to have
him with me.”
He added that there are
definitely advantages to the fact that he and
his brother are in the same unit.
not bad,” Zac said. “When I get flustered, I go
over to his [containerized housing unit] and he
helps me out.”
Daniel said he listens to
his brother and often dispenses advice,
something he said he is happy to do. Zac agreed
he benefits from
his brother's guidance.
“I get wound up
easier than he does,” Zac said. “He is more calm
and collected. It is comforting to know I can
confide in my own brother.”
always a hot-head as a kid,” Daniel said with a
Danel is light-years ahead of his
little brother in terms of experience in a
combat zone. Daniel said he first came to Iraq
in 2007 when Oregon's 234th Engineer Battalion
was mobilized for overseas duty.
234th's tour ended, Daniel elected to extend
with the 39th Brigade Combat Team from Arkansas.
His tour with the Razorbacks was cut
short when he was involved in a humvee accident
and broke his foot.
After spending a
year on medical hold, Daniel recovered enough to
sign on for another deployment, this time with
the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment.
Daniel, who was stationed at JBB with the
234th Engineer Battalion in 2007, said he has
watched Iraq change during his three
The current focus is on
allowing the Iraqi Army and police to take the
lead role. The two brothers share not only a
common heritage, but a common goal to achieve
success in Iraq.
Yet, they both talk
easily about how they performed as brothers when
they were children. Daniel admitted he often did
mischievous things to his little brother.
“I've always been bigger than him and when
we were younger, I exploited that,” he said. “I
used to pick on him a lot. One time I told him
he had diabetes.”
Zac said he came to
the military almost in spite of his brother.
“I was always the family rebel,” he said. “I
thought of it as being different than him.”
Yet, when he said his life was going down
“the wrong road,” it was his brother whom he
“At first I thought I'd join
the military because I didn't have a future
planned,” Zac said.
His decision to join
the Army and follow in his brother's footsteps
proved to be a good one, he said.
got a lot more discipline since I came here,”
He added that he is proud of his
“It makes me feel good; he wants
to do what I'm doing,” Daniel said.
Despite the fact they are in different platoons,
the duo said they do run into each other
occasionally on duty.
“We end up seeing
each other about once a week,” Daniel said.
Both brothers agreed that no matter what
happens, they will always remember that they are
soldiers with a job to do.
Article and photos by Army SSgt. Patrick Caldwell
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