Pfc. Nate Hertzog: first deployment overseas
Liberty University student to his spend senior year in Afghanistan
Shipping out to a warzone for 12 to 18 months in the middle of their senior year is not a concern for most Liberty University students. North Carolina native and Liberty University Military Affairs Office employee Pfc. Nate Hertzog has to deal with just that.
In about six weeks, Hertzog will deploy to Afghanistan with the U.S. Army’s 305th Military Police (MP) Company for “about a year.”
“They don’t know for sure,” he said. “It is the military, so it could be as little as six months or it could be a year and a half, but … the orders say about a year.”
According to Hertzog, soldiers often say MP stands for “multi-purpose” because they have so many different responsibilities. MPs provide convoy security, conduct Protective Service Details where they protect important persons such as generals and high-ranking officials, serve as prison guards and provide other combat support. Hertzog said they train as both infantry soldiers and law enforcement officers.
“MPs can do pretty much anything,” Hertzog said. “We have to be certified in OC spray, the baton and taser, so things that you see your normal police officer train on, we do as well.”
The deployment will be Hertzog’s first tour of duty overseas since enlisting in December 2009, and while he has trained for it, he is not quite sure what to expect.
“You always have that fear aspect of what’s going to happen while I’m over there,” he said. “Is it going to be really rough? Is it going to be an easy assignment — if there is such a thing? How hard is it going to be being away from my family and my wife? But you have to remind yourself you have been trained to handle what you’re going into and you have the peace that only God can provide.”
Planning to make the best of his time in Afghanistan, Hertzog plans to continue with classes on Liberty Online, depending on the “operational tempo” — the number of hours he will have to work every day. He hopes to return with only a couple classes left, so he can graduate soon with a major in criminal justice and a minor in psychology.
Members of the Student Veterans Group on campus, especially the group’s president Marine Cpl. Jared Delello, have encouraged Hertzog to start a Bible study where he’s stationed.
“(One of the things) Jared and some of the other Christians who are combat veterans have encouraged me to do, which has challenged me, … is to start a Bible study when I’m over there, to spread the Gospel, be an example in that environment and to minister to the people over there,” Hertzog said.
He said the Army provides further training in-country to prepare soldiers for interacting with the people and culture of the area. Working with the Student Veterans Group has also helped Hertzog prepare for deployment. Members of the group have given him tips such as what to look out for and what to do before he leaves.
“The veterans group has tried to make sure that I’m doing ok and has been supportive and encouraging,” he said. “Also, just knowing what Liberty University and Students Behind Our Soldiers does by sending care packages raises your morale.”
Hertzog and his wife Jamie-lynne were married in August before he left for a month of training, and soon he will be fighting overseas for the next year. He wanted people to remember that “families also serve.”
“They now have to carry all the burdens that their spouse did while (the spouse is) off having their own challenges being deployed,” Hertzog said. “I think (people) need to remember the military and their families in their prayers, support them and show them Christian love any way they can.”