News: A mission close to home
Story by Maj. Deanna Bague
MCGREGOR RANGE, N.M. — Two hundred Soldiers from the 377th Theater Sustainment Command are preparing to lead a logistical mission in Haiti. But for Sgt. Joseph Greem of the 377th TSC, the operation is close to home.
Greem was born and educated in Haiti. He became a police officer in Port-au-Prince, and said he served as the body guard for Haiti's current president.
In 1999, Greem moved to the U.S. He enlisted in the Army in 2001 after he was granted permanent resident status. He discovered he lost some of his friends in the earthquake that struck his native country Jan. 12.
"Unfortunately the earthquake hit Haiti so hard — I'm feeling bad about that," said Greem. "I want to help."
The 377th' s mission includes distributing food and supplies. Lt. Col. Michael Perez, the unit's public affairs officer, said the distribution will go through civilian organizations but the 377th will manage the transport of the commodities.
"Getting the food into country, into ports — sea port or air port — getting it from containers to a status where it could be moved on roads and to places where it's needed, assessing where it's needed, working through the Haitian government to meet the needs where they're most appropriate — all that would go to our [command and control]," said Perez.
Trainers from 2nd Brigade, 75th Division, who train battle staffs from the Army Reserve, National Guard and some active components used computer battle command systems to train the 377th. Col. Jeff Williams, chief of operations for 2nd Bde., 75th Div., said the BCS 3 replicates all the logistics capability the 377th has to support themselves internally and the items brought from the U.S. to help the Haitian people.
" Our mission here is to work with the battle staff of the 377th to provide them a real-world scenario — in this case Haiti — and provide them challenges that they must work through and overcome in order to provide the people of Haiti the best possible care they can," said Williams.
The 377th is also getting real-world-based "injects," or scenarios, that are introduced to each member of the staff that they have to work through, added Williams.
One of the scenarios called for Greem to serve as an interpreter in mock negotiations between his commanding general and a role player acting as the Haitian minister of the interior.
Williams said the unit is enthusiastic about their deployment.
"The 377th wants to go down to Haiti and help," said Williams. "That is probably the biggest part of this mission — the desire to go down and help."
Greem said he has learned the importance of giving from other members in his unit and intends to extend this virtue to the people of Haiti.
"There is more blessing in giving than in receiving," said Greem. "I know it's going to be heartfelt in Haiti. I may be an American Soldier, but I was born there. They need me to help them out. That is the reason I say I am blessed to be with 377th to go help my native country,"