My name is Chandler Greene and I served alongside Gary Soiseth in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. He and I had similar missions: I trained Afghan soldiers while Gary trained Afghan farmers. To do his job, he had to sleep side-by-side with the troops, wade through frigid rivers with the troops, and endure enemy attacks with the troops. Gary was subject to the same threat of direct fire, indirect fire, and IED attacks as any coalition member. Gary was in the same up-armored vehicle as me when our convoy was struck with an IED. There were multiple missions where I provided Gary with a weapon because the villages were so dangerous that we needed all the firepower we could muster.
Gary may not have worn the uniform, but he was as much a part of our unit as any other service member. He may not technically be considered a veteran, but he was in harm’s way just as much as any other of our troops.
Gary selflessly served his country by bringing about economic recovery to a war zone, which in turn kept US service members and Afghan civilians safer. This is why the U.S. Army awarded him the Superior Civilian Service Medal. Based on our experiences together in Afghanistan, I believe the voters of Turlock would be lucky to have Gary's discipline, intelligence, and courage lead their city.
— Former HM2(FMF) Chandler Greene