Two men from Nebraska City have recently returned from deployment to Iraq during Operation Inherent Resolve.
Colonel Derek Thomson and First Lieutenant Blake Bequette were part of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (Bastogne Brigade), 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) which was a part of Task Force Iraq within Combined Joint Task Force—Operation Inherent Resolve on a nine-month deployment to Iraq.
The global coalition is comprised of 76 nations and 5 international organizations remaining resolved to ensure the lasting defeat of ISIS.
“Our mission was to work by, with, and through our Iraqi partners in an advise and assist role to ensure the defeat of ISIS,” said Major Vonnie L. Wright, Army public affairs officer.
“We supported our Iraqi partners through training, advise and assist units and commanders, provided air support and strikes, and reconnaissance and surveillance activities to assist operations,” he added.
With Bastogne Brigade’s hard work and diligence, 252 ISIS fighters were destroyed, said Wright.
Thomson was the deputy commander for Task Force Iraq and the current Commander for 1st Brigade Combat Team “Bastogne Brigade”, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
As the deputy commander, he was directly involved with the Task Force Commander, Marine Corps Brigadier General William H. Seely III, in making key decisions and advising and assisting key leaders and partners in Iraq.
Thomson was extremely instrumental in leading the brigade that was spread more than a dozen locations and hundreds of miles apart.
“Through his sound leadership Bastogne brigade assisted in the Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve’s mission to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS,” said Wright.
Bequette attended West Point in 2016 and is within the Engineer Branch of the Army.
He serves as a sapper platoon leader within 326 Brigade Engineer Battalion “Sapper Eagles”.
His role within operations was security of the unit’s base and led his platoon for personal security missions for key leadership engagements.
Bequette was also very influential during training operations.
Through his leadership, his platoon conducted several ranges, sapper training, and demolition training.
He also led a convoy for the battalion’s mortar section in order to conduct live realistic training in the mountains of Iraq.