by Peter Jakey-Managing Editor
Army Pfc. Josh Leonard, a 2009 Onaway High School graduate, is stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He completed a seven-month deployment in war-torn Afghanistan last September where he served as a minesweeper.
It was a critical assignment, because he held the lives of his comrades in his hands.
“You are pretty much in charge of everybody behind you, if you are moving as a platoon element,” said Leonard, during a telephone interview following a day’s work at Fort Bragg. “You have 30-plus guys behind you. They are all counting on you to do your job and not miss an IED (improvised explosive device).”And they found a few.
He said military life isn’t for everyone, but he’s handled it well and kept safe.
“It’s about trusting the guy besides you,” said Leonard. “Different parts of the country are worse than others. Yeah, if you are over there, you are going to get into a firefight or two. It’s just the nature of the beast.”
The deployment came three months after he graduated from the United States Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. It’s also where he completed boot camp.
Any future deployments to Afghanistan, “are up in the air,” he said. “You don’t really know until a few months before.”
While back in the states, he continues training at Fort Bragg. He has three years and 10 months left, and already knows he wants to return to his hometown.
“I’ll probably get out and move back to Onaway, and start my life fresh. (The town) kind of grows on you.”
Josh graduated from Alpena Community College in 2010 and married Nicole Anna Marie Hillis, Nov. 14, 2011.
His parents are Bernard and Sharyl Leonard.
Josh also invites friends to visit his Facebook site and post comments.