Brian Poleshuk Keeps Iron, Supplies Rolling into Baghdad

Tue January 27, 2004 - Northeast Edition

Just one year ago, Brian Poleshuk, one of Highway Equipment & Supply’s field service technicians, would report that another machine was ready to get back to work. But a lot can change in a year

Now, Poleshuk reports to his friends at Highway Equipment about his life as a soldier with the U.S. Army Reserve Unit 629 TC Company, stationed in Iraq.

Poleshuk, who began working at Highway Equipment in November 1998, was called to active duty February 2003 and was sent to New York for overseas preparation, shipped out to Kuwait the beginning of April, ultimately winding up in Iraq.

Poleshuk has phoned his friends at Highway Equipment from outside Baghdad. Conversations go easily. His colleagues report what’s going on at the home front in Harrisburg, PA; he describes life on battle front.

Every seven days, Poleshuk’s unit takes its turn among other similar units driving supplies north to the outskirts of Baghdad for the troops inside the city. (News broadcasts have reported these supply units as having been attacked by Iraqi insurgents.)

Poleshuk’s “home away from home,” as he puts it, consists of living in one very large tent in the desert. The elements, perhaps more than anything else, wear on him. “During the day, the temperatures get up to 150 degrees. I could take a cup of instant noodles, add water and set it outside to cook in the sun. At night, the temperatures drop down to the 90s. With so much of a temperature drop, it feels colder at night and you need to bundle up in blankets,” he said, and added that there’s no humidity. “We get sand storms with 20 mph winds blowing sand in your face, your clothes, your food, your soap … everything. We don’t get to shower every day because of the facilities. That’s why the soldiers have been asking for baby wipes. We use those to clean up with,” he said.

The holiday season can be a difficult time for the men and women stationed anywhere but home in the States. And Poleshuk and his unit were no different: They didn’t know what they were going to do for Christmas. When the Highway Equipment employees heard about this, they sent him a pre-lit Christmas tree, a football, some games, and of course a fruit cake. They also sent Poleshuk some snack food consisting of beef jerky, peanut butter, jelly, crackers, chips, nuts, cookies, pretzels, etc. — anything that wouldn’t spoil. (Poleshuk had earlier described his limited regimen of military food and Gatorade.)

Poleshuk’s friends at Highway Equipment are very proud of the job that he is doing for his country and continue to support him. And they all look forward to him returning to his home at Highway Equipment & Supply Company in Harrisburg.

Highway Equipment, the Volvo, Gradall, Euclid and Bobcat dealer for central and northeast Pennsylvania, has been in business for 53 years.