Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Soldier/Elk Hunter Gives a Shout-Out to RMEF from Afghanistan

Complacency is not an option. That can lead to dangerous or catastrophic results.

They work long, often monotonous hours with detailed precision but must constantly adapt themselves to change while remaining on the highest state of alertness. They go about their daily duties with the eyes of an eagle and the focus of a bloodhound. Simply put, they clear the way for those who follow. They are Army soldiers and members of the 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Route Clearance Patrol (RCP) 29. Their mission is to make sure the roadways of Afghanistan are free of improvised explosive devices so Coalition Forces, and Afghan civilians alike, can safely pass with confidence. 

Among them is Sergeant First Class Jeffrey Garland, a 16-year veteran of the U.S. Army. Jeff is from a small town in the mountains of western North Carolina called Black Mountain. He is also an avid outdoorsman and an elk hunter. 

“I have hunted elk in Washington state and Colorado when I was stationed there. Since then my schedule has not allowed for me to make any elk hunting trips,” said Garland. “I have also enjoyed taking my sister and nephew to see elk for their first time in the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina on leave prior to this deployment. Again, thanks for your efforts in that reintroduction.” 

Jeff is also a proud member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Longing for a piece of home, he recently contacted RMEF on behalf of the 34 members of his platoon. RMEF staffers, excited to help out, quickly assembled a care package that included Bugle magazines, Cabelas water bottles, travel mugs, stickers and 15 RMEF hats. 

“The hats are allowed to be worn in our work areas and living areas so it almost normal to have a regular hat which feels great,” Jeff added. 

RCP-29 calls Fort Drum, New York, its home base which is located in the North Country a mere 30 miles from the St. Lawrence River and the Canadian border. The platoon, however, is made up of soldiers from California, Maine, Virginia, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, Alabama, Tennessee, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. Jeff is quick to point out that he’s not the only elk hunter in the group. The others are SSG Trevin Sparks of Stockton, California, CPL Dannyl Eden from Powell, Wyoming, and SPC Cameron Day of Sandpoint, Idaho. And from the sound of things, they won’t soon be alone. 

“Several others of my unit would love to hunt elk given the chance as they are avid hunters,” said Jeff. “And many are joining the RMEF in the near future thanks to your generosity and better understanding of your organization.” 

To SFC Jeffrey Garland and the soldiers of RCP-29, we salute you! Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for your honorable service in our behalf. Be safe in carrying out your daily duties. We look forward to your safe return home. 

Below is an email that Jeff sent to RMEF: 

We received our package from the RMEF today and it was like Christmas. We really appreciate all that you did for us and I believe you may have a few more members in the near future. My boys were so excited to have your support and we have your card posted in our platoon area so we can look at it when we need a little pick me up. You folks rock and I will always be a strong supporter of RMEF, not only because I love to hear a bull bugle on a cool fall morning (and thanks to you I can hear it now in the mountains of western NC where I am from), but because of all the support that you gave to my platoon. Words cannot express what that act of kindness does for my boys’ morale. I hope you enjoy the pictures and I am working on a flag that will be flown over our little Forward Operating Base Orgun-E and will come with a certificate. As for the pictures with 33 soldiers, it's like herding cats especially after they got all the goodies. 

Thanks for everything, 

SFC Jeffrey Garland and RCP 29 

(Jeff says he will “one day become a life member when the opportunity presents itself.”)


  1. I first met Jeff (Jethro) Garland in Washington State. We became really good friends after we got to talking about hunting. We were both just a couple of good ole boys from diffent parts of the world. Neither of us knew come here from, sickum about hunting elk. However, we had spirit and the love of the hunt no matter what the game was. We found that by going muzzleloading we had 2 oportunities to hunt instead of just one buy going rifle. We didn't see nothing the first year. The second year was a wild one. It takes both of us to tell that story. And the last year. We finally got into the elk and got one in the cooler. We heard that bull bugel not 20 yrds away right before daylight and that started the addiction.

    I made one hunt with him in Colorado. That would have been in about 2004. They I went out to see him and the family in NC in 2007.

    I know that in the near furture Me and Jeff will be out there chasing some big mossyhorns up the side of the biggest, baddest mountain in our hunting area.

    My name is Jason Meeks and have been a member of RMEF for 5 Years. I mom became a life memeber this year. I love what RMEF does for the troops and for the habitat. Without them we are none. I spent 12 years in service and found a new way to chase elk. I have been archery hunting elk in CO for the last five years. Waiting on Jethro to get a chance to come out and we can get back in the woods.

    We just cant let him hunt on Sunday thats when all the bad luck happens. Thanks RMEF for looking after our troops. When your across the pond any kind thought helps. But a bag full of goodies is like christmas. Keep up the good work.

  2. Thanks for sharing your story Jason. And thank you for your service & support!