Thursday, November 13, 2008

Leif - Catamount Battalion Awards - Summer 1999 - Fort Drum

Leif participated in battalion challenges at Fort Drum, New York, a year after he had arrived there and before going to Bosnia that fall. The two award certificates read, in part:

Catamount Certificate of Achievement
is awarded to
Private First Class Leif Garretson
for exceptional achievement as a participant in the 2-87 Catamount Truck Challenge. Your superior technical knowledge of the M998 and unparalleled driving ability set you apart as an outstanding example for all soldiers. Your ability to master a variety of skills make you an asset to the Catamount Batallion . . . 23 June 1999

Catamount Certificate of Achievement
is awarded to Private First Class Leif Garretson
PFC Garretson's machine gun team qualified as the highest in the battalion. His experience and expertise with the M240B machine gun are a credit to his team, platoon, Charlie Company, the Catamount Battalion, and the U.S. Army. 12 August 1999

The photo of him was taken about the same period. I think it was taken by Nikko, in their quarters at Fort Drum, and he is holding one of their cats.

Leif told me about the competitions he participated in for these awards, but unfortunately, I didn't write down the details. They were getting ready for their deployment to Bosnia.

Leif did not like infantry life on base when they were not training and "had no mission." He felt they wasted a lot of time and were required to do menial tasks like mopping floors instead of honing their skills as professional soldiers. He was happiest when they were training or on a mission, as they were in Bosnia. He could expound at length on how he thought things ought to be done differently in order to make better use of enlisted soldiers' time, and he resented it when they were kept late with nothing to do because higher ups weren't ready to dismiss them.

However, he had a fierce dedication to his own skills and mission, and to his comrades in arms.


  1. Miss Ya Brother.

    PFC Sweet
    2-14th INF 10th MNT

  2. I don't know if you'll see this, Sweet, but thank you for remembering Leif. I remember him talking about you. Be well.