Singleton served in Iraq War

Published 12:45 pm Thursday, November 12, 2009

Charles Singleton’s day job hasn’t always been tied to making loans and handling money.

There was a time that the president of Demopolis’ BankTrust was more concerned with scouting roadways for bombs and keeping military units out of harm’s way.

Singleton joined the Guard in 1991 as a senior in high school and would eventually see the Middle Eastern territory that helped spur his interest to enlist.

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“I had an older brother in the Army,” he said, “so I was always interested in the military but watching Operation: Desert Shield – and then Desert Storm – unfold, and reading about it and seeing it on television just made it that much more interesting.”

Singleton took a turn in Iraq in Operation: Iraqi Freedom in March 2003 with the Linden-based engineering battalion.

“I was enlisted as a sergeant as an (intelligence) analyst,” he said. “Our main focus was intel prep of the battlefield. If there was an IED spotted along a particular route or there was any activity of any significance, it was our job to keep the units informed.”

If there wasn’t any significant data on a given route, Singleton and his peers were charged with looking for it.

“If we didn’t have any data on an area, we would go out an scout it,” he said.

While at least a portion of his duties put Singleton in precarious positions, one of the missions of his engineering battalion was to help improve the living conditions of the civilian Iraqis.

“We cut roads, we improved existing roads,” he said. “Some of the guys worked on schools, the market areas – helping to improve their market place.”

With so much work to be done in the private sector, Singleton was able to see the work being done to help improve the Iraqi condition and the impact he and his men were having.

“Seeing the satisfaction from the local Iraqis shows you we had a reason for being there,” he said. “Many of the population were glad we were there, and Mosul, Iraq, is a large city of about a million and a half. There were some people, who you could tell, didn’t like the fact we were there but the overwhelming majority were appreciative of what we were doing.”

Since his return in 2004, Singleton has since been commissioned as First Lieutenant.

Still active in the Guard, Singleton recently completed military police training. Should he be called back to active duty he would serve in a law enforcement capacity.