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    Mayor cell provides safe haven for joint forces

    Mayor cell provides safe haven for joint forces

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Ange Desinor | Sgt. Austin Lumpkin, left, a Belle Chase, La., native, and Cpl. James Lenke, a West...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Ange Desinor  

    13th Public Affairs Detachment

    PAYNESVILLE, Liberia – A mayor’s cell in an austere environment plays a huge role in a training rotation or during deployments. For the Soldiers supporting Operation United Assistance and living at the National Police Training Academy in Paynesville, Liberia, the mayor’s cell is essential for protection, lodging and logistics.

    “When Soldiers come here, the mayor's cell ensures those individuals are facilitated with lodging and safety,” said 1st Sgt. Joseph Taylor, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the mayor's cell, and first sergeant of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 36th Engineer Brigade. “The welfare of Soldiers and their safety is top priority.”

    Lodging and safety aren't the only things the mayor's cell does.

    “We also enable programs such as [Morale, Welfare and Recreation] for Soldiers who come back from missions as a means to relax,” said the Bingham, Maine, native. “I coordinate with the other units to provide support, so that they can do their job as well.”

    One of the biggest morale boosts the mayor’s cell can provide to Soldiers is a gym.

    Taylor said, there wasn’t a gym when he first arrived to NPTA. He and his Soldiers worked with the NPTA to get training equipment to set up a physical facility.

    “We are currently working on modifying the MWR room, said Taylor.“It currently has refreshments, a television with Armed Forces Network connection and air conditioning.”

    To keep the morale positive, Taylor has movie nights for the Soldiers.

    “Every Saturday night, we try to incorporate a movie night so that Soldiers can watch movies,” said Taylor.

    The mayor's cell is dedicated.

    “We are here for the Soldiers,” said Capt. Ashley Towns, the officer in charge of the mayor's cell and company commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade. “All the things that happen throughout the day – whether it's a facility problem or cleanliness or security – you need the mayor's cell.”

    Towns said she works with a great group of Soldiers.

    “I love my Soldiers,” said Towns, a Charlotte, North Carolina, native. “They are very hardworking and forward thinkers. When I ask them to do a task, they do it and they go above and beyond of what is expected of them. I think that's why we operate so well here and things get done in a timely manner.”

    The mayor's cell always looks for ways to improve the safety measures at the NPTA.

    “The Soldiers added the entry control point at the entrance of the NPTA,” said Towns. “We have Soldiers and the [Liberian police officers] logging and keeping a record of movement in and out of the NPTC.”

    Many Soldiers are unaware of the importance of the extensive security measures provided by the mayor’s cell.

    “The little things that we add on continuously are to help make the camp better,” said Towns. “We do it to ensure security and they won't have to worry about anything. They can do their missions with a sense of security.”

    Taylor said often there’s no easy fix to an issue.

    “One of my favorite quotes is first-world problem in a third-world country,” said Taylor. “Meaning something that can be easily fixed back home, is a tremendous event because of all the things you have to deal with to get it fixed.”



    Date Taken: 12.27.2014
    Date Posted: 12.27.2014 09:18
    Story ID: 151140
    Location: PAYNESVILLE, LR
    Hometown: BINGHAM, ME, US
    Hometown: CHARLOTTE, NC, US

    Web Views: 190
    Downloads: 0