Stephanie Lum works out with the Wolfhounds

Justin Minisalls
Justin Minisalls

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly 10 years have passed since the start of the war in Iraq. Now, the attention is on Afghanistan. Troops based here in Hawaii have received their orders and will soon be shipping out to the region.

Before they leave, members of the 25th infantry invited Stephanie Lum and Videojounralist Duncan Armstrong to spend the day with them at Schofield Barracks for a look at how they're training for the mission ahead.

   In a grueling hour-long P.T. session, the Wolfhounds push themselves to the limit so they can be stronger and faster on the battle field. As 24 year old Staff Sgt. Justin Minisalls explained, there's no such thing as giving up.

  "I like to be the best at everything I do. I try to instill competitiveness with my soldiers," said Minisalls.

   The Florida native is quick on the weight machines and even better on the firing range.  Minisalls is assigned to the sniper unit.

He knows the dangers of war. He was badly injured during his second deployment to Iraq.

   "We were headed back. The first three vehicles drove over it. We drove across the road and we hit it and it blew up," Minisalls recalled.

   The blast from an explosive device killed his buddy.

  "I never had nightmares or anything like that. I never was scared to go back or go and do my job again."

   Minisalls is getting ready to deploy again.  This time he'll be heading to Afghanistan.

  Sometime in the Spring, the Hawaii-based Wolfhounds will be away from their families and on the front lines of combat.

  "We're going to be going to eastern Afghanistan and just work to build stability," said Lt. Colonel Dan Wilson.

   For 60 percent of the battalion, it'll be their first deployment.  For the rest, like Minisalls, it'll be their 3rd or 4th.

 "I love my job, I love my country," said Minisalls.  "If they want to send me to go to Afghanistan, I'll go to Afghanistan as many times as they want me to."

   While I got to experience just a small snippet of life as a soldier, I have no doubt about the great sacrifice each and every one of the  Wolfhounds are making for our country and for that I say to the 25th infantry ohana, "Thank you for serving our country".

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