MOUNT GILEAD — Joshua T. Mertz has deployed to Iraq to serve in support of Operation New Dawn, the formerly named Operation Iraqi Freedom. This transition signifies a formal end to U.S. military combat operations in Iraq.
Operation New Dawn shifts the U.S. emphasis from predominantly military to predominately civilian as the U.S. officials assist Iraqis in accordance with the Strategic Framework Agreement.
The three primary missions of U.S. Forces include advising, assisting and training the Iraqi Security Forces; conducting partnered counterterrorism operations; and providing support to provincial reconstruction teams and civilian partners as they help build Iraq’s civil capacity.
Mertz, an armor crewmember loader with three years of military service, is assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
He is the son of Melissa McGuirk of Mount Gilead. The specialist graduated in 2007 from Highland High School, Sparta.