Monday, February 24, 2014

Face of Defense: Soldier Takes Deployments in Stride

By Army Sgt. Antony Lee
Regional Command South

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan, Feb. 24, 2014 – When service members first arrive here to begin their deployments, all must first be trained on certain skills before they can begin their mission.

Some are trained on weapons systems, others are trained on biometrics, and others train solely on countering improvised explosive devices.

Army Master Sgt. Pablo Jimenez of the 4th Infantry Division makes sure incoming service members are properly trained for their mission in southern Afghanistan. He is a senior noncommissioned officer in the operations section of Regional Command South, a section that focuses on current and future operations. Jimenez is in charge of training.

Jimenez is serving in Afghanistan for a second time. He served as a company first sergeant in eastern Afghanistan on his last deployment, when he and his soldiers worked with Afghan forces on missions outside the wire.

“Our main mission here is to assist the Afghan forces,” he said.

That mission has not changed since Jimenez was last here, but his job has: he now helps to coordinate training for units coming through Kandahar Airfield. He also serves once a month as a range safety officer for soldiers conducting marksmanship training.

Jimenez enlisted in his native Puerto Rico in August 1986. Since then, his career has taken him all over the world. In addition to his two deployments in Afghanistan, he also served in Iraq.

“My dad was in the Army -- he is a Korean War veteran,” Jimenez said. “I always wanted to be like him.”

Outside of his combat deployments, Jimenez, who is an infantryman, has been stationed overseas in Italy and in South Korea. He said his time in Italy, from 1999 to 2002, was his best experience in the Army.

“I have enjoyed my Army career,” he added. “The Army has allowed me to travel around different countries [and to] get to know different types of people and experience their cultures.”

Jimenez said his wife, Joanne Aldridge Jimenez, has supported him through three deployments, a big reason he continues to serve.

“When you have a solid marriage and your wife is there for you, she gives you positive encouragement. She is praying for you, and she’s taking care of the household -- that makes your life easier here. It makes you stronger.”

Jimenez, who has been stationed at Fort Carson, Colo., since January 2013, also plays the drums for the Catholic service he attends here on Sunday evenings. He is scheduled to return to Colorado this summer as the 4th Infantry Division completes its time as headquarters for Regional Command South.

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