Senior Chief Rob Burroughs, US Navy Seabees, Retired
He grew up in a WWII Family. His father served on a Liberty Ship as a Gunners mate during WWII, his mother worked for the US Navy at Rough & Ready Naval Station in Stockton, CA.
His parents met at Treasure Island Naval Base in San Francisco & 1946 after the war.
Because he was raised in a WWII Family, his mother educated him concerning all of the sacrifices made during WWII. He had many family members who served during the war and several did not come home. He grew up playing with war artifacts, bayonets, large brass shells from guns his father fired during the war & WWII books the family owned. This was the foundation for his interest in WWII, the Military & History.
His father owned a 76 Gas Station and many of his customers were WWII Veterans. He worked for his father throughout his teens and learned to know and appreciate the Veterans who served during WWII.
One Veteran in particular that came to mind, was a D-Day Veteran who stormed the beaches that day, his name was Mr. Dannyluke. Rob use to mow his lawn in high school. He was a paraplegic who lost both of his legs during the initial landing and was confined to a wheelchair.
As a junior in high school, Rob was required to do a report on the year 1941. Mr. Dannyluke's wife was gracious enough to loan him his Silver Star & Purple Heart and citations for his awards for his report. This is where Rob first started to understand the sacrifices of what the WWII generation went through. Mr. Dannyluke was a rough & tough man, but he taught Rob some valuable lessons in his life and he learned to listen more intently to his stories and to the stories of other Veterans that he came to know.
He ran his father's business into the late 1980's until he retired. By that time he was too old to go "active duty Navy", so he joined the Naval Reserve Seabees in 1989, just in time for Desert Storm.
During Desert Storm, Rob was attached to Reserve Naval Construction Battalion 2 (RNCB-2) where they were stationed at Camp Wilson, 29 Palms Marine Corps Base, preparing to deploy to Saudi Arabia. During that time frame, the American Military Forces attacked the Saddam Regime in Northern Kuwait & Southern Iraq.
The "Highway of Death" took place on Highway 80 North of Kuwait City.
Because of the heavy death toll of Iraqi Armed Guard troops that took place, Colonel Colin Powell advised President George H. Bush to call off the war and the RNCB-2 Unit finished their Marine Corps training at 29 Palms instead of deploying to Saudi Arabia.
Throughout the next ten years of Naval Service, Rob accepted and volunteered for every duty opportunity he could obtain, such as Naval Instructor School, Career Counselor School, Seabee Military Instructor (SMI), ComSat School, Russian Intelligence and was chosen to be Chief Petty Officer in 2001.
While preparing for Chief Petty Officer Initiation in September of 2001, the Terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City took place in the middle of Chief's Initiation. At that moment Chief Burroughs knew that his destiny had changed & that all of his training would now be focused on the deployment to Iraq. This Chief's class would now be known as the 9-11 Chief's which directed an enormous amount of responsibility on his shoulders.
Training was no longer training, it was the knowledge of life or death. It was imperative that his troops know their jobs above and beyond any other that they had had before.
At this time Chief Burroughs was attached to Naval Construction Force Support Unit 2 (NCFSU2) out of Port Hueneme in Southern California.
Chief Burroughs deployed as Communications Chief in charge of over 9 million dollars in communications equipment (ComSec Equipment). Once in country, he was stationed at Camp Ali Ah Salem and attached to First Marine Expeditionary Forces Forward at Task Force Charlie. His responsibility was to setup initial communications for the Seabees, the Marine Corps (1 MEF Forward) and other NATO Units in conjunction with the initial war surge March 19th, 2003. Other responsibilities were pre-staging heavy equipment, such as D9 Dozers for the initial push across the Iraqi-Kuwati Lines and to ensure all convoys were supplied with proper communication assets.
On occasion, Chief Burroughs was tasked to do several interviews with the BBC for task force headquarters. This is where he learned to be cool, calm and collected in the face of news reporters who were rude & insubordinate if they didn't get the answers they wanted.
Also in the next camp over was where he first met Colonel Oliver North where he gave his news briefings called "War Stories". Rob had the great distinction of having dinner with him on several occasions. His demeanor gave Rob confidence and helped him to be able to deal with the media better.
One night prior to the War beginning, Rob was tasked to go to Kuwaiti International Airport (KIA) to pick up some Naval officers. While waiting for the officers to arrive, he happened to meet famed Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey, legendary Marine from the movie Full Metal Jacket.This was another highlight of his life and deployment.
Chief Burroughs continued to operate the communication for Task Force (Charlie) Communication Operations Center (COC) call sign Consequence. Chief Burroughs closed down Task Force Charlie at the close of the initial invasion when operations were tasked to move location.
The final words on the radio were "This is Consequence signing off for Task Force Charlie", it was quite a moment...
To Be Continued...