News: JS Waterman & Sons mortician serves as battalion armorer while deployed overseas
by Senior Master Sgt. Darenda Rogers
ESGR Forward Team
KUWAIT - Massachusetts Army National Guard Spc. Rachel Mira, an employee with J.S. Waterman & Sons, is currently deployed to Camp Buehring, Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name given to military operations from Afghanistan to the Horn of Africa in support of the Global War on Terror.
According to Mira, mentally overcoming the emotional challenges that pop up now and then has been her greatest challenge. In spite of these challenges, however, Mira said that being part of Operation Enduring Freedom helps to make up for any hardships that she 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.
At Camp Buehring, Kuwait, Mira serves as a battalion armorer for the 126th Aviation battalion. Her responsibilities include assisting with the accountability and distribution of weapons within her battalion. The specialist has served in the military for almost three years; this is her first deployment overseas.
Prior to her deployment, Mira worked as a mortician for almost three years with J. S. Waterman & Sons in Wellesley, Mass. Mira described the demands of a mortician's life well. "The funeral service is a very dedicated job "24/7," Mira explained. "You are either involved or completely out of the picture."
Though great commitment is sometimes required, it is also quite gratifying. "When I apply myself at the job, I put all of my effort into it, no matter what it takes. Sometimes it drains you physically and mentally, but by the end of the work day, I know I made an impact," Mira affirmed. Grateful for an employer who cares, Mira reflected, "They have been very supportive throughout the deployment." As she reflected on her career with J.S. Waterman & Sons, she stated, "it's a great job and I am honored that I worked for such a prestigious company."
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 Mira 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.
"Being prepared in general, just helping out or getting involved in whatever mission needs to be accomplished no matter what the task" are skills I will carry back to my civilian work," Mira stated. Mira expressed pride in serving her country and pointed out that she had learned from her overseas experience. "Realizing how much we have back home and what really goes on out here has made this deployment worthwhile to me," she reflected. She looks forward to returning to her family, friends and work there.
Mira, who calls Wellesley, Mass. her home, is the daughter of Franke and Kevin Weintz out of Reno, Nev.