In 2009, two young men, Cory Booth and Eric Tope, followed their sense of duty and made decisions to serve their country. Following basic training, each received assignments in Baumholder Germany, where they first met one another. Over the course of the next three years they became comrades in arms.
Dating back to around 1,000 BC and known as “the Rock,” Baumholder is one of the largest and oldest US Army posts in Europe. Once a favorite training base for Hitler and the German forces, it became an American base in 1951…and a place where bonds form between soldiers. Such was the case with the 170th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, with whom Cory and Eric both served.
During training, Eric and Cory’s skills positioned them to become the company’s best gunner (Eric) and creator of intelligence reporting standards (Cory) that were adopted throughout the battalion. Both were deployed to Afghanistan for over a year, where their unit was awarded a Meritorious Unit Citation. While Eric was often the first gunner selected for duty, Cory served with his intelligence team to keep those on patrol safe. Among the unit’s accomplishments was development of a set of operating procedures for processing (disarming and interrogating) detainees.
During one period of intense combat, Eric’s platoon engaged in a 4-hour firefight with Taliban rebels intent on entering a nearby province to recruit soldiers. In need of air support, Apache helicopters were summoned, but all were on mission with special forces on duty in the area. However, a lone stealth bomber pilot heard the call for help and responded by making a low, hard-banking “show of force” over the Taliban position, silencing fire from the rebels.
Among the special forces deployed to the area was Navy SEAL Team 6, for whom the 170th IBCT provided support. For four months, Cory and Eric’s unit worked alongside Team 6 to take care of business!
Indeed, depending upon one’s fellow soldiers in matters of life and death results in deep bonds between soldiers. In 2012, following their military service, Cory lived for a while in Germany and California, and studied web development. Eric returned to Phoenix to oversee the buildout of CBR’s new building. During military service, both learned the value of commitment and service, and they now employ those skills at CBR! Cory serves as System Administrator, making sure the technology at CBR is utilized effectively. Eric is a Project Manager, insuring that systems are working properly for our clients. The commitment and service they exercised in the US Army is now evident as they serve the needs of our clients.
Eric says, “I want to give hope to veterans who may be struggling and needing work. You can still get a job and serve other people. Don’t ever give up! The military gave you a good skill set that can be utilized in the workforce.”
Eric Tope encourages vets to become WOTC-eligible (Work Opportunity Tax Credit), and companies to take advantage of the tax credit by hiring eligible veterans.
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