A soldier with Kentucky and southern Ohio roots was in one of the last units to leave Iraq over the weekend. According to family members, U.S. Army PFC Codie Breeze, a 2009 graduate of Bracken County High School, was on one of the last convoys of American soldiers to leave Iraq. Breeze is with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Delta Co. 2 Battalion 5 Cavalry Regiment from Fort Hood, Texas.
While in Iraq, Breeze was stationed at COS Kalsu, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, said his father, Joe Breeze.
"He has had limited contact with us in the last three months. They had to pack up most of their stuff to get moved out, and Facebook has really been their only communication lately," Joe Breeze said on Monday. "I looked up where he was and it is really nowhere, just a spot on a map and nothing nearby."
Joe Breeze's most recent communication from his son was, "I made it." posted on Facebook, signifying they had left Iraq, Joe Breeze said.
Having a child in the military came as a surprise to Joe Breeze.
In 2009, the young Breeze seemed destined to a college career in football, his father said.
After obtaining a scholarship to play football at Cumberland College, PFC Breeze completed a winning football season and returned home for the holidays with the announcement he had joined the army.
"We didn't see that coming. He liked to hunt when he lived in Bracken County, but he loved football and was good at it," his father said.
Other than basic training in Texas, PFC Breeze has spent all his tours of duty in Iraq, his father said.
PFC Breeze is now at Camp Beuhing, Kuwait, one of 4,000 soldiers staying in the region who will likely be repositioned within the CENTCOM area of responsibility for the remainder of their 12-month deployment.
CENTCOM functions as a reserve in the region, to provide flexibility for response to contingencies, his father said.
Breeze has an extended family in the Ohio River region.
He is the son of Joe Breeze and Missy Hughes of Batavia, Ohio; brother of Jessica Breeze of Batavia; grandson of Bob Breeze of Brooksville, Sylvia King Moore and Ray Moore of Charleston, S.C., Christine and John Cassidy of Manchester, Ohio, Gary and Mary Hughes of Manchester; great-grandson of Edna-Bell Redmon of Manchester, and nephew of Kay and LP Chandler of Manchester, Sue and Larry Humphries of Peebles, Ohio, and Jeff and Beverly Breeze of Brooksville.
A reunion will have to wait, his father said.
"He got back home for about six days back in September, but he is one of the 4,000 who will not be home for the holiday this year," Breeze said.