CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Between seven deployments, including four to Iraq and one to Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Malcolm A. Letts, a native of Los Angeles, has served in a variety of positions as an information systems maintainer. Since 1997, Letts spent most of his career supporting special operations forces in deployed areas with their information technology and communication needs.
Now, currently deployed to Kuwait, and serving as the non-commissioned officer in charge for Army Support Group-Kuwait’s communication’s section and the unit’s information assurance manager, Letts is relying on prior experience and technological expertise to face the challenges of his current position.
“We get all kinds of issues here that we have to deal with, from computer issues to radio communication issues, like how would we go about getting free internet access to everyone on the installation,” said Letts. “That’s why it’s important to be knowledgeable on a wide range of subjects.”
Letts said his section faces the additional challenge of being unusually small for a brigade-sized element, only four soldiers, and their biggest challenge is working with civilian contractors, who do a bulk of the hands on work.
“We have to make sure that the services the contractors are providing are being done to standard,” he said. “Having that breadth of experience makes it easy for me to relate to what they are doing and to see if they are doing it correctly, and of course, they are; they are doing a fantastic job.”
Letts pointed to the recent rainfall on Camp Arifjan, which caused some areas on the installation to flood.
“Because a bulk of the infrastructure on base is so well done, the flooding really hasn’t been an issue for the networks, which is something that the Information Management Directorate, which supports ASG-Kuwait’s information technology and infrastructure needs, should be proud of,” he said. “They’ve done such a fantastic job that there were hardly any connectivity issues at all during the flooding.”
James L. Curcio, the automations support branch supervisor and current acting information management director at the IMD, said Letts and his soldiers are an integral piece to their operations.
“They are sort of the top piece. Letts has plans and projects from the commander that they will get together with us about and we’ll execute them,” Curcio said. “That’s why it’s important to have a good working relationship with the soldiers that are working in the S-6 [communications] shop.”
Curcio said because Letts has so much experience and knowledge when it comes to his job and IT issues, it makes his job that much easier when a project needs to be completed. “Right now the partnership is great because we do communicate on the same level and we are in contact all the time,” he said. “I can come to Staff Sgt. Letts with something and be very technical with him and he will understand. It’s a great help to our working relationship to be able to do that.”
“I’ve been in Kuwait for four years and this is the most solid relationship and the best communication that we have had with an S-6 shop since I have been here,” he added. “We want to execute and we want to get the mission completed for our customer,” he said. “If you can’t approach them and there is a lot of trepidation there, it really doesn’t’ work out well.”
Letts said his job changes day-to-day based on the needs of his command but ultimately, that’s what he is here for.
“It’s usually the more challenging requests that are the most fun to deal with,” he said. “But we want to support the commander and make sure we are providing him with the services and support that he needs to accomplish the mission.”