Capt. Seth Musgrove directs members of Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment during a training exercise at Camp Shelby, Miss., in this 2010 photo. Pat Caldwell/For The Observer
La Grande native departs local unit after 13 years of service
by Pat Caldwell/For The Observer
In January, before he departed the La Grande Armory, three small flags adorned the walls of Seth Musgrove’s office.
The flags — called guidons — are often no more than interesting fixtures on an otherwise stark-white wall of the Oregon Army National Guard captain’s office.
Yet for Musgrove each guidon represents a chunk of time spent in his career defending his state and nation. Each flag symbolizes periods of triumph and moments of disappointment; days of training away from home or hours of tension and trauma in a combat zone. Up on the wall behind Musgrove’s desk was the physical depiction of service and sacrifice.
The guidons now, of course, are gone and the files and the fragments of paperwork of a full-time officer in the National Guard are packed away. Musgrove, a member of Eastern Oregon’s Army Guard outfit, the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry Regiment for more than 13 years is on the other side of the state and at work for a different unit.
Musgrove, a long-time fixture in the local citizen-soldier unit, accepted a promotion to become the logistics officer for the Guard’s 82nd Brigade stationed at Camp Withycombe in
“I’m looking forward to learning a new job,” Musgrove said.
Musgrove personifies the often deep family roots in area Guard units. His father, Greg, served as a recruiter for many years in the 3rd Battalion before he retired. There are still citizen-soldiers on the current 3rd Battalion roster who were recruited by the elder Musgrove.
Seth Musgrove often accompanied his father to monthly drills and, in a very real way, grew up in the Guard. Musgrove enlisted in the Eastern Oregon unit as soon as he was of age, served four years as an enlisted man and then went to Officers Candidate School to secure his commissions.
Not long after he earned his second lieutenant bars he was shipped to Iraq when the 3rd Battalion deployed to that war-torn nation in 2004.
Between the time he gained his commission until now, Musgrove served as the second-in-command of Ontario’s Charlie Company, then took command of that unit and led it for more than three years. Most recently he was the commander of La Grande’s Guard unit.
Through that time he served two combat tours in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, married and started a family. At the end of January, he said goodbye to a Guard unit that was more than simply another job.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity. But it is bittersweet. I’m leaving a unit I grew up in. My wife and I were born and raised in La Grande. But the new job is exciting. And change is good,” Musgrove said.
Musgrove said he is most proud of his time as a platoon and company commander, both jobs he fulfilled with Ontario’s Charlie Company. He also succeeded in both of those roles during combat operations.
“(Leading soldiers in combat) is your test, the culmination of all your training,” Musgrove said.
Combat took its toll on the young officer. Twice during the first tour in Iraq, Musgrove survived IED ambushes. While he was decorated for his actions, Musgrove brushed off any notion he did anything out of the ordinary.
“I didn’t do anything heroic. I just got blown up,” he said.
Musgrove said the move to the 82nd Brigade is, overall, a good one.
“I will most likely be promoted to major,” he said.
He admitted his departure from the 3rd Battalion is not easy but he said he understands the necessity of moving in a military
“Besides, I’m ready for a new challenge,” he said. “I’m going to miss the soldiers and my fellow officers.”