Friday, October 19, 2007

Sr. Army enlisted leader visits Army well drillers

Source: www.DefendAmerica.mil.

20 Sept 07
by Air Force Staff Sgt. Jennifer Redente.

ASSAMO, Djibouti – National Guardsmen assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa were visited by the senior enlisted leader for the National Guard Bureau for three days.

Army Command Sgt. Maj. David R. Hudson, NGB senior enlisted leader, traveled to Djibouti Sept. 12-15 to learn about the HOA mission, visit well drilling sites and check on the morale of the Guardsmen.

“As a person who testifies before Congress, I wanted to come and see how they were doing and if they were in need of any supplies or equipment,” said Hudson.

While the sergeant major has visited several camps in theatre, this was his first time to Africa.

“It was a neat opportunity to come and see what kind of impact Guardsmen are making,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know about Djibouti, where it is or what we are doing here.”

Hudson met with the 1132nd Well Drilling Detachment of the North Carolina Army National Guard Sept. 15, and traveled to Assamo to view three of the five wells the servicemembers completed.

“Well drilling is an important contribution here because it helps prevent illness,” said Army Staff Sgt. William R. Brown, 1132nd Well Drilling Detachment lead driller and acting first sergeant.

The difference between the hand-dug wells the Djiboutians use and the wells the Guardsmen install is that the well drillers encase them, which makes them sanitary and keeps bacteria from getting into the water.

The well drillers test the water each time they return to the site using a hydrologist water test kit. While there is no regulation or other requirement for this process, the Guardsmen go an extra step further to make sure the process is still intact.

“We do it as a courtesy, because we care about what we’ve done,” said Brown. “We want to make sure we have left a positive impression on the people.”

The NGB senior enlisted leader felt the trip was educational, and he enjoyed meeting members of the HOA mission.

“I personally learned a lot,” said Hudson. “I didn’t know about the well drillers and what they bring to the HOA mission. The men and women of the National Guard are hard workers. The well drilling unit is doing a wonderful job.”

The command sergeant major also appreciated the assistance of the CJTF-HOA commander and command chief.

“Rear Adm. James M. Hart and Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John R. Harris were great hosts during my time in HOA,” he said. “They have their own duties, and they put them aside to help me in making sure I could see as much as I could in a short amount of time.”

Army Sgt. Phillip W. Lawing, 1132nd Well Drilling Detachment lead well driller and mechanic, enjoyed the senior enlisted leader’s visit.

“Someone from that position who takes an earnest interest in what we are doing is nice,” said Lawing. “Knowing someone came from Washington, D.C., means they’re aware that we’re here and that’s pretty special.”

At any given time, there can be 70,000 to 90,000 Guardsmen deployed to 44 countries around the world. About 200 are in the Horn of Africa.

The well drillers are part of the CJTF-HOA mission, serving with more than 1,800 coalition and U.S. servicemembers who are part of the operational effort to prevent conflict, promote regional stability, and protect coalition interest in order to prevail against extremism.

Photo - Sgt. William R. Brown, left, uses a hydrologist water test kit as Army Sgt. 1st Class Danny D. Hunter records the various levels from a well drilled for local Djiboutians. The Guardsmen are not required by any rules or regulations to measure the pH levels, hardness, salinity, and other traits of well water, but do so as a courtesy check to ensure that the well is intact and because they care about what they've done. Brown and Hunter are members of the 1132nd Well Drilling Detachment deployed from Mooresville, N.C., Army National Guard. Brown is lead driller and acting first sergeant and Hunter, is team leader commander. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jennifer Redente. Digg!

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