An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Feature Search

Captain's deployment leads to an invitation to Romania

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Nichelle Griffiths
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Contrary to popular belief, in today's Air Force, it's more common to see Airmen filling the roles traditionally held by Soldiers, but a Team Andersen member took it one step further in a recent deployment to Iraq when he was attached to the Army's 82nd Airborne Division and worked hand in hand with coalition forces. 

Capt. Matthew W. Gibson, 36th Wing command post, recently returned from a six-month deployment to Camp Adder in Ali, Iraq where he was attached to the Army's 871st Garrison Command, 82nd Airborne Division, 1st Brigade and participated in missions with the 32nd Romanian Infantry Battalion. 

While deployed, the captain participated in a civil affairs reconstruction project mission in June 2007 and was a member of an eight-man security team that completed several convoys and foot patrols, one of which was located next to a Sunni village confirmed to have launched rockets into Camp Adder. 

Fortunately for this Airman, he never came in contact with enemy forces during his deployment, but a member of the 32nd Romanian Infantry Battalion was killed in action on the same route Captain Gibson patrolled. 

Although he wasn't on that particular mission and the member killed in action wasn't a U.S. servicemember, the captain organized a precession and led the way in the lead vehicle for the Romanian infantryman killed in action. 

Captain Gibson arranged for coalition forces and military police to line the roadways from the Romanian compound to the flight line to make a smooth transition for the deceased Romanion servicemember. "There were over ten thousand people on base and most didn't know about the solider killed in action, but on that day, when taking the body from the compound to the flight line, you could literary hear a pin drop," the prior enlisted Soldier said. 

Although the captain didn't see combat in this particular deployment, he's no stranger to combat. He's been deployed 18 times in his 17-year military career, 15 times in the Army and three times in the Air Force, and doesn't plan on slowing down now. 

"I've actually volunteered to go on another deployment working with the provisional reconstruction team in Bagram, Afghanistan," Capt. Gibson said. 

Throughout his 10-year career in the Army, the captain worked in special operations units, Army Ranger units and Airborne Infantry units at the battalion level, he said.
Like many others have experienced while deployed, there were many hurdles the captain had to overcome.

"It wasn't so much the language barriers that we faced and had to overcome but ... the cultural barriers and cultural differences made it tough," Captain Gibson explained. "But the barriers never affected the mission; instead, it brought us together." 

Captain Gibson rated his deployment with Coalition forces as; "Outstanding because when members of not only the Romanian Army Infantry and the Australian Army noticed that members of the U.S. military were present on missions, it ups their motivation, and it shows that we are really working together as a team towards a common goal," he said. 

At the end of his deployment Captain Gibson was personally invited by the 32nd Romanian Infantry Battalion commander to Romania for the 125th anniversary celebration of their unit. 

"It was a great honor," Capt. Gibson said.

Social Media