Aug. 19, 2016 — In 2007, two 17-year-old high school graduates from central Oregon joined that state’s Army National Guard.
One soldier, from Madras, became a combat engineer and the other, from Maupin, an infantryman. Yet, while they started their military careers in different units, they eventually ended up as infantrymen in the same organization.
Spc. Kyle Herbst’s desires were always geared more to the infantry. He transferred into 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team in Redmond, Oregon, where he met Sgt. Sergio Calderon-Diaz.
Calderon-Diaz started in the Recruit Sustainment Program, a delayed-entry process, until he attended basic training and advanced initial training. His former RSP instructor, Sgt. 1st Class Brain Tarvin, said he was a good, solid soldier from the beginning.
The two soldiers have trained together for nearly a decade. The only time they were separated was when they were assigned to two different brigades during their unit’s 2010-2011 deployment to Iraq.
To Protect, Serve
Protecting and serving is at the heart of Calderon-Diaz’s character. Currently considering a profession in law enforcement, he uses his military skills at his civilian job as an armed security guard at the Bonneville and Dalles dams.
In Bravo Co., 3rd Battalion, 116th CBCT, Calderon-Diaz is a team leader and Herbst is a grenadier. Though not the grenadier’s job, Herbst’s background in information technology makes him the subject matter expert on most communications systems.
And, Herbst’s size and determination enable him to be point man through the thick brush and trees during military exercises in the U.S. and Europe.
During training at Exercise Saber Guardian 16 at the Romanian Land Forces Combat Training Center here, Herbst moved through the brush so effortlessly that his comrades were soon calling him “Sasquatch.”
Former platoon sergeant for 3rd Platoon in Woodburn, 1st Lt. Joshua Buker said, Herbst and Calderon-Diaz are dependable, smart, have a “mission first” attitude, are multitalented and have with a desire to win. Calderon-Diaz’s leadership was instrumental in Bravo Troop’s success during training at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, in 2015.
Herbst proudly recalls, “I remember when this guy scored 26 kills on enemy [targets] at [the National Training Center]. He shut down the lanes. It was great!”
Calderon-Diaz and Herbst both got married in 2007; Calderon-Diaz in May and Herbst in September. They each have three children.
Herbst said, “We both managed to have two boys and a girl around the same time as the other and in that order.”
When it comes to soldiering, Calderon-Diaz and Herbst also have similar beliefs. They are confident in their ability to accomplish any mission anywhere in the world and are both thrilled with the opportunity to train in Romania.