Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
| Courtesy Staff Sgt. Rich Stowell, Utah National Guard Utah National Guard Staff Sgt. Lyndsey Prax, of Draper, is homesick and looking forward to a Pioneer Day celebration at Kandahar Airfield.
Utah soldiers bring Pioneer Day to Afghanistan
Military » About 20 Utah soldiers will celebrate the 24th in Kandahar with Jell-O and barbecue.
First Published Jul 22 2014 11:06 pm • Last Updated Jul 23 2014 08:51 am

No, there won’t be any handcarts, prairie dresses or parade floats.

Yes, there will be a barbecue — complete with Jell-O.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"It wouldn’t be a Utah celebration without it," said Army Capt. Chad Lewis, of Logan.

Utah soldiers deployed to Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan are planning what they think is the inaugural Pioneer Day celebration there. Personnel from the Utah National Guard are organizing the festivities and have scoured other units to invite Utahns deployed to Kandahar.

Army Capt. Patrick Carucci, of the 115th Engineer Facilities Detachment based at Utah’s Camp Williams, said in a video call that he and a major in another Utah unit developed the idea. The Utahns will gather Thursday underneath an awning and grill steaks on an old stainless steel barbecue that Carucci said "looks older than the country."

He expects about 20 Utahns to attend.

"It’s not very large, but it’s not very often you get Utahns across a world together," Carucci said.

Carucci is a Roy native who earned his commission at Utah State University.

The celebration will have a two purposes for Carucci. He said he and 11 other soldiers are due to come home soon. They’ll be celebrating Utah and their pending departure.

Staff Sgt. Lyndsey Prax, of Draper, won’t return to Utah until at least October and maybe not until December. She’s deployed with the Utah National Guard’s 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. Prax’s parents and six of her eight siblings are in Utah. Prax said friends and family who recently attended Draper Days posted photos on Facebook. They made her homesick, and she’s looking forward to a Pioneer Day morale boost.

story continues below
story continues below

"Maybe I can get back at them by showing them that I’m having fun, too," Prax said with a laugh.

Prax is hoping her commander gives her the day off. Carucci said most of the attendees will visit the barbecue as they finish work or between assignments.

Lewis is deployed to Afghanistan for the second time with regular Army. The first time was he was in combat with the 101st Airborne Division. There was no time for a Pioneer Day celebration then.

"There were a lot more things going on," Lewis said. "We got shot at a lot more."

This time, Lewis conducts computer network cyber security for the 4th Brigade Combat Team 4th Infantry Division. He’ll attend the Pioneer Day barbecue and will bring two friends from other states.

Lewis is based at Fort Carson, Colo., said there have been some Colorado Day celebrations in Afghanistan. That’s celebrated on Aug. 1.

But he expects the Pioneer Day festivities to be more substantial.

Lewis has ancestors who were handcart pioneers, and he has told his friends the history of Utah’s Mormon settlers and the hardships they endured.

The stories and the celebration will make Lewis less homesick, he said.

"Little things you can get from home give you a normal life," Lewis said.

Next Page >

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.