Illinois Guardsman’s loyalty has lasting effects

YAKIMA, Wash. – What do you think of when you hear the word military? Support, combat, deployments, family? Do those words even go together? For a member of Illinois National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Brigade, that is exactly the case.

Spc. Jackson Shasteen, an indirect fire infantryman hailing from Christopher, Ill., with Headquarters, Headquarters Co., 2nd Battalion, 130th Infantry Regiment, 33rd IBCT is one of many Soldiers who feels the call to help train the newest members to his unit at Rising Thunder 19.

Rising Thunder 2019 is an annual exercise between the U.S. Army and the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force featuring units from the Illinois Army National Guard’s 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and 108th Sustainment Brigade and Japan’s 25th Infantry Regiment. The exercise, held Aug. 28 – Sept. 13 at Yakima Training Center in Yakima, Washington, consists of company/platoon unilateral and bilateral training events in two phases, culminating with a bilateral live fire exercise.

While at Rising Thunder 19, Shasteen is not only training new service members but also helping them prepare for their upcoming deployment.

“Today I’m assisting at ammo bearer, instructing one of our new privates how to properly do the job,” said Shasteen. “It’s important to make sure that we all good at our jobs, at our specific titles. We get moved around a lot depending on the slots that are filled. Some of these newer privates are training for the upcoming deployment that I will not be able to go on and it’s important to pass on the knowledge since I will not be able to go.”

Shasteen has always wanted to go on a deployment since he enlisted in 2014. However, his circumstances changed after getting married and gaining a new family outside the uniform.

“I will not be able to go on this deployment due to my son’s medical reasons,” said Shasteen. “When I turned in my son’s medical necessity letter to my unit, they were very supportive of what was going on and they still keep me interactive with all the training we do and we still keep me where they need me. I think it’s important that I can still teach some of the newer people coming into the platoon, that way that have the knowledge when they go out there.”

For Shasteen, being supported with his personal circumstances is important. In return, he feels overwhelming loyalty as a Guardsman.

“As much as I would enjoy going on this deployment,” said Shasteen, “I think it’s really good that our unit cares about our home lives and family necessities instead of sheer combat strength. The unit definitely does a great job making sure everyone gets taken care of.”

Date Taken: 09.04.2019
Date Posted: 09.13.2019 16:37
Story ID: 340818
Location: YAKIMA, WA, US 

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DISCLAIMER: This article was originally published at the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System Hub ( The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.

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