Tate (Trey) Lawrence III, scout leader in the 3rd Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, Third Division, U.S. Army, is among the soldiers who secured one of the presidential palaces April 9 after an intense seven-hour battle in downtown Baghdad.
Last week his unit took control and secured the Baghdad Airport which is now under United States control, according to Tate Lawrence Jr., his father.
The airport is being used to bring in supplies with C-130 Aircraft. The airport contains command bunkers used for military and commercial flights, Lawrence said.
Trey, 25, is the scout leader for his battalion and he is also an airborne ranger. His father said Trey has been in the Middle East for six months. "I'm concerned about the safety of our military coalition. I'm proud of my son's occupation and what he is doing," Lawrence Jr. said.
Trey graduated from Melbourne High School in 1995 and graduated from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro in 1999. He graduated with a major in animal science and a minor in military science.
He joined the Army in November of 1999. Lawrence said his son attended school on an Army scholarship. During college Trey completed airborne training at Fort Benning, Ga., and later attended officer's camp in Fort Lewis, Wash.
Lawrence said his son has not been home for the Christmas holidays for the last two years. He was deployed to Bosnia in 2001 and last year his orders assigned him to Kuwait.
Because of his ranger status Trey is qualified to jump from an airplane to enter a battle zone. An airborne ranger is the Army's elite fighting force, Lawrence said. To gain that status Lawrence attended three phases of ranger school; phase one was at Fort Benning; phase two was carried out in the mountains where soldiers trained to operate using ropes to ascend and descend; phase three was survival in the jungle where soldiers were taught to navigate in snake-, gator- and crocodile-infested swamps.
"Very few people that start ranger school make it through it," Lawrence said. The school is physically and mentally demanding; soldiers experience sleep and food deprivation during the assignments.
Lawrence Jr. has something in common with his son; he too has a military background. He served three years in active duty and became the commander of the Arkansas Army National Guard unit in Batesville. Lawrence was assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the 39th Infantry Brigade in Searcy and was an operations officer for a military police group consisting of five battalions in Jefferson City, Mo. He was promoted to major of the 204th Military Police Battalion in St. Louis.
After returning to Arkansas he was assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve and retired in 1993 with the rank of lieutenant colonel.
Lawrence Jr. and his wife Sherry anxiously wait for the war to end so their son can come home safely. "I completely support our country and our nation's leaders as well as the military in the war," Lawrence said.