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Local man deploys today to Afghanistan

SPC Jarryd Lapp

SPC Jarryd Lapp

SPC Jarryd Lapp of Fulton will be deployed today for Afghanistan as a member of a U.S. Army Reserves cargo handling unit.

Lapp is member of the 236th Inland Cargo Transportation Company (ICTC) of Decatur, Ill.

Lapp’s 205-member unit will handle all cargo operations at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

“My new unit was created specifically for this duty,” Lapp said. “It includes people from all over the nation. There are soldiers from Puerto Rico, Washington, California, New York, Texas, Montana and many other states. We came together fast and bonded quickly.”

When Lapp finished Fulton High School in 2007 not many of his classmates decided to join the military.

“To me it was a matter of patriotism and a way to get a college education paid for by the Army. I wanted to get my college education first before deciding to join the Army. That’s why I chose to join the Army Reserves in order to get college out of the way first,” Lapp said.

Even in high school, Lapp was an avid volunteer for civic organizations.

“I did a lot of community service projects. I worked for creation of a skate park in Fulton. I have been involved with church organizations and the Fulton Jaycees. Volunteering for the Army is just another patriotic thing to do,” Lapp said.

Lapp said he knew that by signing up he was likely to be deployed to a combat zone.

“I am well aware of the potential danger, but I have wanted to be deployed since the day I joined the Reserves,” Lapp said.

Lapp is proud that since he signed up for military duty there have been many other Fulton High School graduates joining the Army, National Guard or the Reserves.

When soldiers sign up for the Army National Guard they generally stay with a unit close to home. But in the Reserves, Lapp and other members must train with a unit with a need for his specialty. Lapp’s first assignment in 2007 was the 1008th Quartermaster Company of Granite City, Ill.

Lapp learned how to repair heavy equipment, including boilers.

“After my training I am able to fix anything in the Army as long as it is not a moving vehicle. I am an all-around mechanic,” Lapp said. “I can fix medical equipment, refrigeration, heating, cooling and all related equipment. It’s a valuable skill to have.”

Lapp said the Quartermaster unit was scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan earlier but instead of deploying as a unit, individuals were selected from the unit based on their specialty.

Lapp received word that he was being reassigned to the cargo transportation unit in Decatur, Ill. There he learned cargo handing skills, including driving big cargo handling equipment. He also can operate cranes and forklifts.

“I have learned a lot of new skills but recently I have decided on a new career path after I finish deployment to Afghanistan. I plan to go to school in St. Louis and get a master’s degree in nursing anesteology. The Army doesn’t send you to nursing school but they will pay for it. My first two-year program after I return from Afghanistan will be at St. Louis Community College. And then for my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees I plan to go to Webster College in St. Louis. Webster is one of the few places that offers a degree in nursing anesteology,” Lapp said.

After obtaining a nursing degree, Lapp plans to become a U.S. Army officer.

Lapp’s family includes his parents, Ron and Karen Lapp of Fulton, who both work at Fulton State Hospital. His brother, Michael Lapp, lives in Springfield.

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