EARLVILLE – Earlville resident Robert Alexander Orellano, 23, a member of the U.S. Army currently stationed in Fort Campbell, KY, is coming home for the holidays on Dec. 20, after finishing a tour in Afghanistan in November. He reminds people not to forget the troops that are still stationed in the Middle-East and other areas around the globe who are not as fortunate as him to be safe at home with their families for Christmas.
“One of the most important things I want people to know is, there is a generation that's growing up not knowing what it's like to not be in a war. My sister is ten years old, and we have been at war since she was born,” said Orellano.
“There are still soldiers over there. They are not home,” Orellano continued. “They are going to miss Christmas. We are still at war, even though some are coming home. We are still all over the world. There are still troops in Korea, left there after World War II. Anything can break out at any moment in the places where troops are stationed.”
Orellano was stationed at the infamus Combat Outpost Wilderness, located in the heart of a gap in the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan. He was a member of the Gunfighter Company of the First Battalion of the 506th Regiment and a platoon of the 320th Field Artillery Regiment, all members of the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, KY.
“I was part of the crew that shoots canons. I also am a driver,” said Orellano.
Combat Outpost Wilderness was recently closed and the troops were sent home, as is the case with many bases in Afghanistan, because the military is pulling out of the country. The base Orellano was stationed in is a notoriously dangerous spot because of the consistent firing of rockets and mortar rounds directed at the base.
“It was one of the last places that was fighting the Taliban. I saw a piece about how dangerous it was on “60 Minutes” after I enlisted. When I found out I was deployed there, I couldn't believe it,” said Orellano.