Polish commander awards ASC officer in Afghanistan
November 13, 2008
An Army Sustainment Command officer working at Ghazni, Afghanistan received recognition from a Polish general for his efforts as an Army Materiel Command LOGCAP support officer to the Polish Military Contingent and Polish Battle Group in a recent ceremony.
Lt. Col. Gregory Chaklos, a 27-year veteran with three decades of logistics experience, received a Certificate of Appreciation from Brig. Gen. Grzegorz Buszka, commander of the Polish Military Contingent, as part of a change-of command ceremony Oct. 30.
"I was, of course, both surprised and very grateful to have received the award, personally presented to me by both recent Polish Army PMC commander, Brig. Gen. Buszka, and his PMC Deputy, Col. Tomasz Wolk," Chaklos said.
As a LOGCAP -- Logistics Civil Augmentation Program -- officer, Chaklos is involved in a variety of responsibilities including establishing forward operating capabilities in support of forces engaged in combat operations, developing short- and long-term solutions to life-support and construction issues, and conducting planning and analysis of supply chain and labor requirements in a timely manner to support combat actions in a tactical environment, his officer evaluation report stated.
Chaklos added that it was a pleasure to coordinate logistic services support for and to work with their (Polish) troop support, tactical operations, and enhancement of local governance-focused Rotation-III staff and Soldiers.
"I have seen firsthand that our Polish Army Coalition Partner contribution and presence in Afghanistan is an invaluable and vital asset in executing the NATO security assistance mission here," he said. "They clearly were most appreciative of the many LOGCAP projects we mutually accomplished, and the manner in which those projects enhanced joint mission accomplishment."
Likewise, the achievement certificate stated: "...in great appreciation for your support to the Polish Military Contingent during our common operation. Your professionalism and dedication have greatly helped us to accomplish our tasks. Your assistance has been invaluable to us during our cooperation. Please accept my sincere gratitude for the superior job you are doing in our common mission in Afghanistan."
The PMC is part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan, as is its component Task Force White Eagle, (the newly arrived Polish Brigade at Ghazni).
The award was presented during a Transfer of Authority ceremony at Forward Operating Base Ghazni, where Polish coalition forces are now operating in their fourth rotation. The ceremony marked the Polish Army taking over six bases in the Ghazni Province from the United States.
Buszka, the outgoing PMC commander, was succeeded by incoming Brig. Gen. Janusz Adamczak, who will oversee both the PMC and a new Ghazni-based Polish Army Brigade known as Task Force White Eagle, commanded by Col. Rajmund Andrzejczak. Both men are seasoned Polish armored cavalry officers.
"He has been instrumental in the definition, approval and funding of LOGCAP services at FOBs Ghazni, Warrior, Giro and Four Corners," said Lt. Col. Tim Karstrom, AMC-LOGCAP's assistant deputy program manager in Afghanistan. "His actions were crucial because the Polish contingent has assumed command and control of these bases in the Ghazni Province, and for the first time during their deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, they are operating from their own bases."
Upon hearing the news, Col. Joseph Thompson, Army Sustainment Command, Logistics Civil Augmentation Program, and recently LOGCAP's deputy program director for Afghanistan, wrote this to Chaklos: "Awesome job. I am very proud of what you were able to accomplish. You are the right man in the right place, doing the job..."
Chaklos has been in theater since June 2008, beginning in Bagram where the LOGCAP-Afghanistan headquarters is located, then Sharana, and now at FOB Ghazni.
Chaklos is one of about 20 LSOs at FOBs in Afghanistan. Helping his efforts is Chaklos' Slavic language capability, Karstrom said.
According to Chaklos, three of his grandparents were born in Slovakia and the other grandparent, his maternal grandfather, was born in what today would be on the western Ukrainian border with Slovakia and Poland.
His grandparents emigrated to the United States and worked in Pennsylvania steel mills and coal mines, he said. He is also a graduate of the Slavic and Soviet and Area Studies Center (Russian Area Studies Program) at his alma mater, Penn State University, whose studies offer him valuable insight of the people from that area of the world.
Chaklos' home Reserve unit is the Defense Logistics Agency's Joint Reserve Forces Unit, Fort Belvoir, Va. His permanent home is the south Pittsburgh suburb of Washington, Pa. He works as a lead customer account specialist, U.S. Marines Operational (Combat) Forces Team DSCC Land-Customer Operations Group, Defense Logistics Agency, Columbus, Ohio.
Other tours and deployments include West Germany from 1983-86, a Return of Forces to Germany exercise in 1987, and Okinawa, Japan in 1999.
For more information on ISAF, visit the Web site: http://www.nato.int/ISAF/index.html
(Editor's note: Interviews for this article were conducted via e-mail.)