Screaming Eagles Through Time
Pfc. Chad Roberts


Recently I received this e-mail from Erica, proud wife of Pfc. Chad Roberts, and mother of their beautiful baby girl, Emma Marie. Thank you Erica, for sharing this wonderful story with us and for giving me the privilege of posting this on the web site. 

My name is Erica Marie Roberts.  You posted a picture of my hubby on the picture site. Well, I am proud to say he came home with R&R, he was the first ones to make the trip home.  He came home Sept 26 for the first time in 7 months to see his brand new baby girl Emma Marie she was 3 mo. old when he met her.  She took to him in no time. I also have some sites up if you want to post them of PFC Roberts coming home. O
ne has the link that I wish you would put the picture up! Its of all of us. Thanks, Keep up the good work!!!
Erica Marie Roberts 

DAILY Photo by John Godbey

Soldier Chad Roberts said daughter, Emma Marie, and wife, Erica, are
 more precious than the medal for valor he received in Iraq. Emma was
 born in July while her father was in Iraq.

Decorated for valor in Iraq
Hartselle soldier receives medal for daring rescue

By Deangelo McDaniel
DAILY Staff Writer

HARTSELLE Chad Roberts laid his 27-pound machine gun against a table outside a building at the Najaf Institute of Technology in Iraq.

He fought the 110-degree temperature and the mosquitoes before finally going to sleep.

Roberts and three other soldiers were on the downside of a 24-hour security detail as midnight approached in April. They had pulled these shifts for almost a month, and there were no signs that this one was going to be any different.

But a sniper apparently loyal to Iraq's fallen leader Saddam Hussein had breached a security fence surrounding the agricultural college.

"He fired one shot and all hell broke loose," said Roberts, who is home for a two-week rest and recovery period.

The bullet grazed a soldier who was walking in the street and hit another soldier who was sleeping under the table where Roberts was resting.

Roberts flipped his night goggles down, called to the soldier in the street and tried to silence the screams of the wounded soldier under the table.

"My buddy in the road didn't answer," Roberts said. "I could see him through my goggles, but I didn't know if he was dead or alive."

The soldier was alive, but retrieving him would have made Roberts a target. He took a defensive position and assessed the situation.

"The other soldier who was not hit was under the table and he was terrified," Roberts said.

Finally, Roberts pulled the wounded soldier from under the table and carried him to safety. He treated the soldier until paramedics arrived.

For his actions, the Army gave him the ARCOM Medal with Valor, a distinction that he shares with his commander.

"We are the only people in our unit so far to receive this medal," Roberts said.

The 2000 Danville High School graduate is a soldier in the 1st Brigade, 1st Battalion, 327 Infantry Regiment Bravo Company. Military leaders attached his unit to the 101st Airborne Air Assault Division.

When Roberts left Iraq almost a week ago, he forgot to pack the medal, in part because he was thinking of his wife, Erica, and the daughter he had not seen.

Emma Marie Roberts was born July 1. Roberts learned about her birth three days later.

"It was the greatest news in the world, but it was sad because I wasn't here for the birth of my first child," he said.

There have been other sad moments for Roberts.

He was about 75 feet from the area where Muslim Hasan K. Akhbar, a U.S. soldier, threw a grenade that killed one U.S. serviceman in Kuwait.

"Just shortly after this incident a Patriot missile shot down an incoming Scud, and I could feel the shrapnel falling out of the sky," he said.

As his unit was fighting to liberate Najaf, a field chaplain told Roberts that his great-grandfather had died.

"I knew they wouldn't let me come to the funeral, so I didn't ask," he said.

Almost two months later, and less than three weeks after his daughter's birth, Roberts received a Red Cross letter telling him that his apartment in Hartselle had burned.

"I didn't care about nothing in the apartment. I just wanted to make sure my wife and baby were OK," he said.

About 30 minutes before the fire began, Erica Roberts had left the apartment with her baby.

Roberts will leave Hartselle on Saturday for what he hopes will be his last tour in Iraq. He said his commanders have told him that if everything goes as planned, he will come home in February.

But the reality and the uncertainty of war are real for Roberts. His unit is guarding a pipeline about 30 minutes south of Mosul in northern Iraq.

"We're at an old airbase, and things are peaceful now," he said. "But I have been there, and I know that it's going to take years to rebuild Iraq.

Roberts continued: "There is rubble everywhere. When we got to Najaf, there were body parts in the streets. The dead soldiers (Iraqi) were still in vehicles. We helped bury some of the bodies."

American forces found some of the Fedayeen's largest weapon stashes in Najaf.

"Saddam's men had closed all of the schools and were storing weapons in them," Roberts said. "We have reopened most of the schools.

"Most of the Iraqi people are glad to see us. But there are those who continue to fight. It's going to take us a while to rebuild the country, but we have to stay until the job is finished. We don't want a repeat of what happen after the first Gulf War."

First R&R Soldiers Gather for Return to Iraq

By John D. Banusiewicz
American Forces Press Service

BALTIMORE, Oct. 12, 2003 The first soldiers to return home from Iraq for rest and recuperation leave checked in at Baltimore-Washington International Airport here today to return to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The Defense Department began the R&R program in late September to give service members a break from duty in Iraq. The program provides free travel to designated ports of entry in the United States or Germany for 15 days of leave in addition to travel time.

Army Pfc. Christopher C. Roberts had spent seven months in Iraq before the R&R program gave him the chance to go home to Hartselle, Ala., where he met his 3- month-old daughter, Emma Marie, for the first time.

"She took to me more than I thought she would," he said. Roberts had to go back too soon to spend his Oct. 24 first wedding anniversary with his wife, Erica, but the 101st Airborne Division soldier did get to celebrate his 22nd birthday at home Oct. 3.

It was hard to leave his wife and daughter, he said, "but I'm ready to get back (to Iraq) and get it over with, so we can be a family again."


Army Pfc. Christopher C. Roberts, 101st Airborne Division, calls his wife, Erica, from Baltimore-Washington International Airport Oct. 12 before boarding his return flight to Iraq after 15 days of R&R leave. During his leave, Roberts met his 3-month-old daughter, Emma Marie, for the first time. Photo by John D. Banusiewicz