SPC Troy Zastrow, U.S. Army (1989-1992)



The following Reflection represents SPC Troy Zastrow’s legacy of their military service from 1989 to 1992. If you are a Veteran, consider preserving a record of your own military service, including your memories and photographs, on Togetherweserved.com (TWS), the leading archive of living military history. The Service Reflections is an easy-to-complete self-interview, located on your TWS Military Service Page, which enables you to remember key people and events from your military service and the impact they made on your life.

What was your favorite piece of military equipment – firearm, apparel, vehicle, aircraft, boat, etc. – and why? What was your least favorite?:

When thinking about my favorite piece of military equipment, my mind initially went to the obvious ones like my M16A2, Kevlar helmet, or M109A2 155MM Self-Propelled Howitzer because each was essential for my job and protection. However, upon further reflection, I believe my entrenching tool and shovel from my artillery piece are my favorite pieces of military equipment. During Operation Desert Storm, they became vital as they were used for digging foxholes and digging in our track vehicles due to engineer’s inability to get to our location. I served in the 1st Brigade during Operation Desert Storm, which was comprised of my unit – the 2nd Armored Division, 1st Marine Division, and the 2nd Marine Division. We were located in a forward area where engineers were focused on building berms and clearing ground, so we could breach safely in the 100-hour war. My unit’s leadership erred on the side caution as they decided we would dig in by hand for our 26 ton howitzers and our 26 ton field artillery ammunition vehicles. It was grueling work due the size of the holes and the stifling temperature. Initially, I thought this was crazy, but I remembered a quote that served as my mantra for my time in service. The quote was Socrates’, “As for me, All I know is that I know nothing.” My interpretation of the quote is that my time in service would involve a lot of learning, and the knowledge gained was going to make me stronger and provide me safety. Open-mindedness was essential for this stage of my life. I needed to trust the individuals who were making decisions. As it turns out having the track vehicles dug in was extremely smart and was an effective strategy that did in fact, protect us.

As for my least favorite piece of military equipment, I really don’t have one, because everything issued to me was necessary and purposeful. If there was an item that I feel could be improved on slightly, it would be the ruck sack. The ruck sacks we used during Desert Storm had limited carrying capabilities. A present modification I see on ruck sacks now is having Molle straps that facilitate the ability for more attachments. The additional carrying capability would have been beneficial during Desert Storm.

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Tags: M109A2 155MM Self-Propelled Howitzer, M16A2, Operation Desert Storm, TogetherWeServed.com, TWS Military Service Page

1 Comment

  1. John R. Meadows

    Terrific stories, makes me proud, all over again!!!!


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