Former National Guard members share memories of disbanded unit


Those who served with the Seymour-based Charlie Company unit speak highly of their fellow men and women and the work they accomplished.

The heavy maintenance company, which was part of the 38th Main Support Battalion, had 138 members deploy in 2004 from Camp Atterbury in Edinburgh to Fort Hood, Texas, working at ports in the southern and western parts of the country.

They inspected and repaired heavy equipment, such as trucks, compressors and tents, used by other military units entering or leaving the country. They also loaded and unloaded equipment from ships and trains.

That mobilization was the first for the Indiana National Guard Armory in Seymour since its establishment in the 1950s.

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Guard members also provided Hurricane Katrina relief, and even after being disbanded in 2007, 130 of them fulfilled their last mission: A deployment to Iraq with the 76th Infantry Brigade.

“It was a good unit that was close-knit and dedicated to any mission assigned to them,” said Philip Hardwick of Seymour, who served with the unit from December 1989 to October 2007 and retired as a command sergeant major.

“Many of my leadership skills were learned while serving here in my hometown unit,” he said. “So many of Seymour’s great citizens served in the Seymour unit over the years.”

At one time, Hardwick said there were close to 200 members of the local Charlie Company unit. The last formation as a company was at Camp Atterbury in October 2007.

David Rodman of Seymour has fond memories of the unit, too.

Going into his service with Charlie Company, the Illinois native had 12½ years of active duty training with the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany twice, Korea once and around the United States.

He developed skills in civil, mechanical and industrial engineering and applied them in building construction and heating and air conditioning work for the Army Corps of Engineers and retired as a master machinist working on major equipment pieces. He wound up with 12 military occupational specialty skill levels.

When he started with the 38th MSB in November 1999, Rodman’s job classification was heating and air conditioning supervisor.

He said he immediately fit in.

“It felt like a family, and I just loved it,” Rodman said. “I didn’t want to move. This was perfect for me. It was a perfect setup.”

Aaron Barnard of Brownstown was 17 when he joined the unit.

“I was very immature, and most of the unit probably thought I was either nuts or stupid,” he said.

He signed up March 15, 2002, and was part of the unit until finishing his deployment to Baghdad with the 38th DISCOM in 2006.

“Originally, I trained as admin, but I couldn’t stand the job, so I retrained as a mechanic during our deployment to Fort Hood,” Barnard said.

His father died while he was at Fort Hood, and Barnard said others in the unit helped him deal with that loss.

“At least they tried to, but I was a young, confused kid at the time,” he said.

He spent 11 months in Baghdad, and after the 38th MSB was dissolved, he was assigned to a different unit and went back to being a mechanic.

Barnard’s service ended in 2010.

“I went to college to be a game designer. That didn’t pan out so well,” he said. “I’m now working as an equipment operator at Valeo in Seymour.”

Rodman was 59 when he left the service upon the unit’s disbandment in 2008. He retired as a disabled veteran due to an injury sustained during combat.

“I’m doing pretty good. I’m trying to start up a business,” he said. “I’m still working on that, and I’m doing things on my own in retirement.”

Normally, he said you don’t see many people in the National Guard age 60 or older because that’s the cutoff point.

“But we had a lot of them who were pushing 62, 63 that were getting waivers to stay in because of their expertise,” Rodman said of Charlie Company.

“It was a very technical unit,” he said. “Maintenance-wise, they are the best mechanics money can buy, and I would take these guys over anybody in the world today. Being in active duty, I’ve seen good mechanics, but these are the best of the best. We all treated each other like doctors basically because they were very professional at what they did. Everybody in that unit was one of a kind.”

He said the unit was unique.

“We accomplished something that nobody will ever be able to touch again, and that’s a good feeling,” Rodman said. “We were that type of unit who has done some miraculous things for the government. To me, it’s fulfilling. It’s a unit to be very, very proud of, including if you only had four years there or 25 or 30 years.”

One member of Charlie Company lost his life while serving. Staff Sgt. Brian Miller of Pendleton was killed in a rollover accident Aug. 2, 2008, in Iraq.

He was only 37 and was a married father of two.

“He was a great soldier and a good man,” Hardwick said. “Most folks in Seymour have never heard of him, yet he worked many diligent hours at our armory and deployed with our unit.”

Since the unit was disbanded, annual reunions have been conducted to give the former Guard members a chance to get reacquainted and reminisce. A table also is set up to honor members who died.

They also stay connected through a Facebook group.

“Serving in the military, you get to meet people that have been in a lot of areas and done a lot of things, but you never really actually understood the reasons why they did it and how they did it and what they accomplished,” Rodman said. “From the medals and missions they earned, it’s really unique.”

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Group page for people who served in Charlie Company 38th Main Support Battalion:

Other information may be found at


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