For the sake of the call

Rangely High School graduates Brian, Greg and Mark Skelton and their friend and classmate Zach Green are all members of a National Guard unit based in Vernal, Utah. The four, pictured here in Central America during annual training last summer, will be deployed to Afghanistan this summer for a nine to 13 month tour.

Rangely High School graduates Brian, Greg and Mark Skelton and their friend and classmate Zach Green are all members of a National Guard unit based in Vernal, Utah. The four, pictured here in Central America during annual training last summer, will be deployed to Afghanistan this summer for a nine to 13 month tour.
RANGELY I “Always there, always ready” is the motto of the National Guard. Its members, exemplary men and woman devoted to serving and protecting our country, back their words with their actions. The National Guard is composed of enlisted civilians ready to volunteer for their country at any time, even if it means leaving careers and loved ones for the sake of the call to service.
In the small community of Rangely, four young men of outstanding character have done just that. Three men from the same family and their friend will begin training this May before their deployment to Afghanistan.
Mark, Greg, and Brian Skelton and their long time friend Zach Green will begin their training in Salt Lake City, Utah before heading to Texas for two months of more intensive training. Then, they’ll be deployed to Afghanistan for nine to 13 months. The National Guard prepares their men to the fullest extent as it is essential to understand the environment and have substantial training prior to their departure.
Mark is 30 years old and has been with the National Guard for eight years. He is currently a full time recruiter for the program and will continue his career with them upon his return. Greg, 26, is a former Mr. Colorado Basketball in 2004. He has been with the National Guard since his junior year of high school and is in his ninth year of service. He is currently a student pursuing a career in education. The third and youngest brother, Brian, is 25. He was Mr. Colorado Basketball in 2005. He works for EnCana as a plant operator and has been in the National Guard for seven years. Family friend Zach Green is also currently attending college and will be married before his deployment.
Greg signed up for this assignment first and the others followed his lead, “ït was all or none.” Their duties will be as carpenters and electricians in the MO capacity in Afghanistan.
Mark, Greg and Brian have served together on summer excursions to Guatemala, Germany and Central America. They helped with relief efforts after Hurricane Katrina and were “treated like royalty” in airports and wherever their duties called them. Their National Guard unit is based in Vernal, Utah.
Their father, Mark Skelton, said of his sons, “They are doing what they are supposed to be doing and I have all the respect for them.”
Sending one’s children into a war zone is a difficult thing for any parent to endure, but the Skeltons are very proud of their sons’ dedication.
“I don’t want to see any boys going to war,” said the elder Skelton. Strong in his faith, he believes he will simply have to pray more then ever, and asks that others do the same.
“I will pray every day until they return.”
Mark coached his sons through their impressive sports careers and supports all they have done. The Skeltons, along with the Greens, have been involved in every facet of their children’s lives. They are active in the recreation department, school activities and community organizations. There is seldom an event involving youth that these two families are not instrumental in facilitating.
They will offer the same kind of unwavering support for their children’s latest venture, one that will require more intense dedication then ever before.
To have raised sons who are willing to serve in such a capacity is a testament to unbelievable parenting abilities. They will no doubt depend on their foundation of family and faith to endure less-than-desirable conditions.
It is an inspiration to have such extraordinary men representing our small town and the National Guard is getting the best of the best in these four men. As you embark on this incredible journey, know that there are two communities eagerly awaiting your return and applauding your service with great appreciation and respect. Thank you and Godspeed.