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An officer and a gentleman


Fri, Mar 28th, 2003
Posted in Features

"There had been a lot of talk in the wind, but we kind of knew in March that we’d be called up," Brett Corson said as he talked about his Army Reserve Unit being deployed.

Corson, who was elected to Fillmore County Attorney in November, hasn’t actually received his written call-up notice yet. Nonetheless, he advised the County Board that he would be going on active duty. They in turn have started the advertising for a one-year full-time assistant.

"Back in January and February we had kind of talked to the kids," said Corson, a father of three, Gretchen, 3; Hannah, 7; and Natasha (Howards) who is married and resides in Spring Valley. Corson and his wife Nancy felt that kids need time to prepare."

He will report May 17 in the Twin Cities and eventually end up in North Carolina, where his unit is being mobilized. Corson is familiar with Uncle Sam’s military force. Brett’s father, Manford, served in Northern Africa and was seriously injured. His uncles were also in WW II. Brett started his service 14 years ago.

"I enlisted after college and started as an enlisted soldier, a Private First Class. Then after I passed law school, I was able to become an officer. I went to Germany as an enlisted soldier the first time and as an officer the second time," explained Corson.

Corson went oversees to Germany in 1991-92 assigned to V Corp Headquarters located in Heidelberg. His group helped complete wills, power of attorneys for those who would look after a soldier’s business when they were away, and helped establish a family plan as to who would take care of the children, for those who would be deploying to Desert Storm. (Today this is called Soldier Readiness Program, SRP.) He was also part of the 11th Armored Calvary in Wildfliken, "a very beautiful place in the mountains,” reminisced Corson.

This time around Corson will still be helping his unit complete SRPs, however, this time overseas, he will be the advisor to a commander for a battalion, known as a Command Judge Advocate/International Law Officer. This individual helps wade through the many legal and, sometimes, moral issues regarding military protocol such as not targeting hospitals and historical sites, or helping setup local governments again.

It all depends on what kind of unit he is assigned to. His unit can be involved in the stabilization of governments after a conflict, helping get civilians out of harm’s way, or identifying local resources such as fuel, and supplies.

Corson feels the U.S. has worked at diplomacy long enough and it just wasn’t getting anywhere.

“It’s kind of like at the county attorney’s office,” Corson compared. “One wishes people would be law abiding, talking it through and not getting into trouble, but that’s not the real world. Someone has to step in have the final say.”

"People have been very supportive. When folks come up to you and say, ‘tell Nancy to call me if she needs help’, it’s nice knowing that the community supports the families,” Corson said. "I’m not doing anything as significant as the soldiers in Iraq right now. They’re risking their lives in a much riskier situation."

Corson expects to be deployed approximately one year.

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