By Army Spc. Brandon Sandefur
Special to American Forces Press Service
May 22, 2009 - As a supply clerk, it's Army Spc. Francisco Rivera Gonzales' job to get essential equipment to the front-line troops when they need it most. The job is both important and enjoyable, Rivera said, because he knows he is helping his battle buddies in some of northeastern Afghanistan's most remote and rugged environments.
Although he is trained as a cavalry scout, Rivera is currently serving as a supply clerk for the 1st Infantry Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan. Even though he's not directly out on the line, he still plays an integral role in the brigade's combat mission.
"Even though I didn't get the chance to do my [job as a cavalry scout], I get to help other soldiers on the ground however I can so they can accomplish their mission," said the native of Utuado, Puerto Rico, who is on his first combat deployment to Afghanistan. "It could have been me out there with them, so I understand how important this supply job is."
Rivera is responsible for supplying more than 190 soldiers in addition to Marines, airmen, sailors and contracted civilians. Some of the supplies he orders include radios, radio batteries and weapon lights, giving soldiers in dangerous areas a tactical advantage over enemy fighters.
"It makes me feel good to know that I supplied guys that were fighting in the middle of the mountains with [their equipment]," he said. "I want to make a difference in the world however I can. I always wanted to be a soldier and wear a uniform."
Rivera is slated to return to his home base of Fort Hood, Texas, next month.
(Army Spc. Brandon Sandefur serves with the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team public affairs office.)