Why they serve: 149th Infantry Regiment soldier serves it up with a touch of melody

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photo and story Sgt. Paul Evans, 77th Enhancement Brigade

Sgt. Ian Howe, a multichannel transmission radio operator from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, 77th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, a native of Salt Lake City and resident of Winchester, Ky., proudly displays his acoustic guitar July 19 at Camp Atterbury, Ind. Howe spent time mobilizing there prior to deploying to Joint Base Balad, Iraq, as a battle captain in the 149th Inf. Regt.’s operations center. (Photo by Sgt. Paul Evans)

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq – When walking through the living area at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, on any given night, between the sounds of airplanes and helicopters in the night sky, one can hear a certain melody filling the air.
That’s because, more often than not, you will find Sgt. Ian Howe, a multichannel transmission radio operator from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry Regiment, 77th Sustainment Brigade, 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, playing his acoustic guitar with his latest renditions.

Howe has come a long way from his hometown of Salt Lake City. Along the way, he’s served as an infantryman in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C., where he sang with the famed “All-American Chorus,” has served in Iraq running base security patrols out of Contingency Operating Base Speicher, and has attended airborne school. That’s just in the four years he spent on active duty.

Howe, now a resident of Winchester, Ky., is currently deployed to Iraq as a battle captain in the 149th Inf. Regt.’s operations center, watching over the troops out on convoy escort missions.

Howe brought along his guitar to help pass the time during the hot Iraqi nights. And while the crowds aren’t the same as his concerts around the Lexington, Ky., area back home, Howe now finds himself entertaining fellow soldiers.

When asked what he likes most about serving in the National Guard compared to active duty, Howe said, “everybody’s from Kentucky, so there’s more camaraderie.”

In the closing days of the U.S. presence in Iraq, that camaraderie, along with Howe’s trusty guitar, should certainly help the mission play out a little more harmoniously.

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