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Military

By Army 2nd Lt. Sheila Babot

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Selfless Service And Silent Heroes
(February 18, 2011)

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CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq (Feb. 13, 2011) -- For seven California Army National Guardsmen, selfless service goes beyond their Army service into their civilian jobs.

Staff Sgt. Gregory Crowe, battle non-commissioned officer with the 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Long Beach, Calif., native, works as a correctional sergeant High Desert State Prison uniform in Susanville, Calif. Courtesy Photo
Staff Sgt. Gregory Crowe, battle non-commissioned officer with the 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Long Beach, Calif., native, works as a correctional sergeant High Desert State Prison uniform in Susanville, Calif. Courtesy Photo

Seven soldiers with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), are civil servants serving overseas in Operation New Dawn at Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq.

Staff Sgt. Gregory Crowe, a battle non-commissioned officer with the 749th CSSB, and a Long Beach, Calif., native, is also a correctional sergeant for the California Department of Corrections. Crowe has a multitude of responsibilities ranging from assigning and supervising correctional officers, arbitrating disputes, commanding instant response teams at his facility, to inspecting and ensuring facilities are fully operational. Crowe is a 10-year Army veteran and a nine-year veteran of the Susanville High Desert State Prison.

“Working for the California Department of Corrections is very challenging,” Crowe said. “The key is to remain firm, fair and consistent when dealing with the inmate population. I enjoy working for the department as it allows me to do my part for the community.”

Another one of California's silent heroes is Sgt. 1st Class Jose Perez, an ammunition logistics non-commissioned officer with the support operations section of the 749th CSSB, and a Soledad, Calif., resident. Perez, a 14-year Army veteran, is a naturalized citizen originally from Guanajuato, Mexico, who now serves as a Monterey County juvenile institutions officer. Perez is also a 14-year veteran of the California Department of Corrections. Perez holds many duty positions including state certified drug and alcohol counselor, truancy officer, and a juvenile hall high-security, incarcerated youth supervisor. He developed, implemented, and managed a mentoring program designed to instill team building skills among rival gang members. His mentoring program has been successful because the system brings rivals together to work toward common goals. Perez was recognized shortly after taking on a supervisory position as the Monterey County Probation Department Officer of the Year for his achievements in 2006.

In addition to his correctional service, Perez is a 15-year volunteer fire fighter with the Salinas Fire Department.

“I wanted to set a good example for all of the children,” Perez said.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Sean Birtcil, a battle captain with the 749th CSSB, and a Walnut Creek, Calif., native, is a Contra Costa County deputy.

“One of the most fulfilling aspects of being a deputy sheriff is knowing that no two days are alike,” Birtcil said. “The sheriff's office offers unique and multiple ways to serve my community and also allows me to serve my country in the National Guard. Moreover, I feel like I provide a service to the community serving in both uniforms. I know that what I bring from logistics to the sheriff's office is training that I would have never received in the sheriff's office.”

In Birtcil's current battle captain position, he is responsible for situational awareness of all incidents within the battalion and reporting them appropriately.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Chad Garton, a military intelligence officer with the 749th CSSB, and a Sunnyvale, Calif., native, is a deputy sheriff with the Santa Clara County sheriff's office. He said his three years of service has taught him how to be a better soldier and to be a better peace officer.

“I am able to apply aspects from both jobs together like critical thinking, discipline, military bearing, command presence and attention to detail,” Garton said. “These are all useful skills that can be used in the civilian world of law enforcement.”

As a sheriff's deputy his primary duties include conducting patrols and coordinating law enforcement efforts with the San Jose Police Department.

“I decided not to be a military policeman because military intelligence interested me more and I thought MI would be a lot more interesting than being an MP, which was my second choice, and I got MI, so that's the route I went,” Garton said.

Sgt. 1st Class Jose Perez, an ammunition logistics non-commissioned officer with the 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Guanajuato, Mexico, native, as a civilian,works as a correctional officer in Salinas, Calif. Courtesy Photo
Sgt. 1st Class Jose Perez, an ammunition logistics non-commissioned officer with the 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Guanajuato, Mexico, native, as a civilian,works as a correctional officer in Salinas, Calif. Courtesy Photo

Sgt. 1st Class Donald Jenkins, a supply non-commissioned officer working in the property book office non-commissioned officer with the 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Washington, D.C., native, works as a field training officer with the Hayward Police Department, in California. Courtesy Photo
Sgt. 1st Class Donald Jenkins, a supply non-commissioned officer working in the property book office non-commissioned officer with the 749th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 224th Sustainment Brigade, 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and a Washington, D.C., native, works as a field training officer with the Hayward Police Department, in California. Courtesy Photo
Sgt. 1st Class Donald Jenkins, a supply non-commissioned officer working in the property book office with the 749th CSSB, and a Washington, D.C., native, has served for the last 14-years as a field training officer with the Hayward Police Department. He trains new and lateral incoming officers to conduct investigations, write reports, and conduct patrols, court testimony procedures and case law.

“Once I completed my college education, I sought a job opportunity that would bring similar comradery as my active duty military experience, and the police department provided the structure of a paramilitary organization I had become accustomed to,” Jenkins said.

After 20-years of military service, Jenkins said he looks forward to retirement and the satisfaction of knowing that he has helped to shape and develop young leaders to fill his boots.

Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Eaddy, a heavy wheeled vehicle operator with the 749th CSSB, and a Sacramento, Calif., native, serves as the highway movement NCO in Iraq and is a parking enforcement officer, and an eight-year veteran with the West Sacramento Police Department in the U.S.

Eaddy wanted to be a police officer since he was a little boy.

“Since childhood I always wanted to be a police officer, and when an opportunity came available, I jumped at the chance to fill a childhood dream,” Eaddy said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed coaching, teaching and mentoring Soldiers as an NCO. It is one of the highlights of my career.”

Capt. Bertrand Barton, a logistics officer serving as a safety officer with the 749th CSSB, and a Los Angeles native, is a Shasta Dam Sergeant of the Guard and supervisor, where he has served for the past nine years. He said he leads a crew who protect four major dams and a series of smaller dams and reservoirs, diversion tunnels, power plants and associated infrastructure inside a 100-mile radius in California.

“I love my job for several reasons,” Barton said. “For one, Chenega Security & Protection Services at one point held most of the Army security contracts in the eastern U.S., and Chenega has modeled itself after the Army in many respects. I love the beauty of northern California and the impressive infrastructure of the Bureau of Reclamation that is so vital to all of California. I never get tired of it.”

For all of these California Army National Guardsmen, selfless service is a way of life. Whether they have been practicing this for three or 34 years, they are fulfilled with the paths they have chosen. At the end of the day, these men all wear two or more hats serving the citizens of California and their country. They all carry and understand the risk and responsibility for their selfless service, duty, loyalty and honor. 
By Army 2nd Lt. Sheila Babot
224th Sustainment Brigade
Copyright 2011

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