13th SC(E) Junior NCOs and Enlisted gather at JBB

Story and photos by Sgt. Michael Carden
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — More than 50 Soldiers with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) gathered May 12 at Morale, Welfare and Recreation-East for a junior noncommissioned officer and enlisted get-together, designed to facilitate camaraderie and teamwork.

“Junior NCOs and Soldiers need to get together and socialize and get to know one another, to just let our hair down and have fun,” said Staff Sgt. Kimberly Robinson, medical logistics noncommissioned officer-in-charge with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th SC(E) and an Oklahoma City native. “We work long hours here and with the stress of being deployed and away from our Families, you need some time to unwind.”

Robinson and other NCOs had been approached by Soldiers asking for a junior enlisted social. She pitched the idea to Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Joseph, command sergeant major with the 13th SC(E) and a Lake Charles, La., native. who approved the idea and told her to go forward with it, Robinson said.

“He was really great about being behind this and giving us support,” she said.

“The motto of the unit is ‘Service to the Soldier’,” Robinson said. “So what better way to provide a service for the Soldier than to provide a time where they can have fun and enjoy themselves?”

Amid karaoke, dancing and board games, Soldiers were given the opportunity to kick back and socialize with friends; some they hadn’t seen in months and others they had just met that evening.

“We all work in different places so we don’t all see each other every day, and we don’t all know each other,” said Staff Sgt. Ashley Hart, strength management NCO with HHC, 13th SC(E) and a New Haven, Mass., native. “I’ve seen people here that I haven’t seen this whole deployment. I think it’s an awesome opportunity to get to know each other and just have fun.”

While this was the first junior NCO and enlisted get-together, it is not intended to be the last. Once the 13th SC(E) re-deploys to the United States, Robinson plans to continue organizing quarterly social events for junior enlisted Soldiers, she said.

Events like the get-together at JBB let service members know they’re part of a unit that cares, which is important because they’re often with the unit more than their own Families, Robinson said.

“This is a part of their (service members’) morale and welfare,” she said. “Everyone in this organization is a first-class professional, and it’s a first-class organization, so they deserve first-class treatment.”

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Soldiers with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) dance at a junior noncommissioned officer and enlisted get-together May 12 at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation-East at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. More than 50 service members enjoyed food, games and entertainment intended to provide them with a night to relax with their peers. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Carden)

 

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Staff Sgt. Stephen Murphy, a signal support specialist with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Chicago, Ill., native, reaches for chips during a poker game at the junior noncommissioned officer and enlisted get-together May 12 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. More than 50 service members attended the gathering, designed to give troops the chance to relax and unwind in a casual atmosphere. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Carden)

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Soldiers with the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) engage in conversation during dinner at a get-together for a junior noncommissioned officers and enlisted service members May 12 at the Morale, Welfare and Recreation-East at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. Over 50 service members enjoyed food, games and entertainment intended to provide them with a night to relax with their peers. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael Carden)