News: Stockton Police Department district commander serves as Inspector General in OIF
Story by Senior Master Sgt. Darenda Rogers, ESGR Forward Team
IRAQ - California Army National Guard Capt. Robert Paoletti of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 49th Military Police Brigade out of Fairfield, Calif., is currently deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the official name given to the military operation which is assisting in rebuilding Iraq's economic and governmental infrastructure, training and preparing Iraqi military and security forces to assume full authority and responsibility in defending and preserving Iraq's sovereignty and independence as a democracy.
Being away from his wife and children has presented the greatest challenge for this dedicated family man, however Paoletti indicated that being part of Operation Iraqi Freedom helps make up for the challenges he may encounter.
Active duty and reserve component members from all branches of the U.S. armed forces are deployed under the U.S. Central Command to support the war against global terrorism outside the borders of the United States. U.S. Central Command is the unified command responsible for U.S. security interests and assets in 27 nations stretching from the Horn of Africa, through the Arabian Gulf region, and into Central Asia.
In Iraq, Paoletti serves as the Inspector General for the 49th Military Police Brigade. He fulfills this role by serving as an extension of the eyes, ears, voice and conscience of the Commander. As part of this responsibility, as of May 26, 2006, he participated in more than 50 combat missions supporting soldiers, requiring him to travel from Basrah to Mosul.
In his civilian job, Paoletti serves as a district commander with the Stockton Police Department out of Stockton, Calif. His tasks range from working with community groups such as Neighborhood Watch or Delta Helpers to managing about 35 police officers in his area.
Paoletti's loyalty to his employer and colleagues is evident as he regurgitates one story after another of their support. "They are fantastic," he declared. "Fellow officers keep an eye on my family to ensure they remain safe while I'm in theatre so I can keep my focus on the work here." Not only do they help him with his family, his employer stays in touch via email and taking time for phone calls from him while he is deployed. "My Chief keeps me informed," he stated. "They ensured I was notified of dates for a promotion test so I could take my rest and relaxation leave at that time and be home for the test."
Today, more than 1.2 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions that require extraordinary actions on the part of everyday citizens. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is the primary resource for information about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, commonly known as USERRA. This federal law allows Paoletti and other mobilized reserve component members to retain their rights, when the deployment concludes.
Established in 1972, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a DoD agency, provides free USERRA education, consultation, and if necessary, mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees. The mission of ESGR is to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers for the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve. More information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and volunteer opportunities is available at www.esgr.mil, or by calling the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve at (800) 336-4590.
Paoletti is proud he has been able to serve his country. He expressed gratitude for an employer who is always there for him. "The Department and the City have been supportive since day one of this deployment," he explained. "Not only have they continued to pay benefits and differential pay, they have also supported three others from our department who are deployed overseas."
Paoletti and his wife of nine years, Michelle, call Stockton, Calif., home. They are the proud parents of Jarrett, Nicolas, and Haleigh. Paoletti is the son of Joseph and Norma of Lodi, Calif. According to Paoletti, "my family suffers more from this deployment than I do." With conviction in his eyes, he stated, "They are the true heroes of this military effort."