Liberian supply sergeant benefits from U.S. Army interaction
May 8, 2009
- The Army is supporting Liberian Security Sector Reform program, a U.S. State Department-led effort to rebuild the Armed Forces of Liberia.
- NCOs from U.S. Army Africa, Combined Joint Task - Force Horn of Africa and U.S. Africa Command have been working in Liberia for some month
- Army NCOs are mentoring Liberians soldiers in a variety of fields, to include supply and logistics
MONROVIA, Liberia Aca,!" The best way for Staff Sgt. Raymond Mulbah to serve his country is to build a strong supply and logistics section for the Armed Forces of Liberia.
Over the past few months, Mulbah has been doing just that, with help from a U.S. Army Africa senior noncommissioned officer, Sgt. 1st Class Ringo Wilson.
Mulbah was surprised to find Wilson, a gentle giant from American Samoa, filling the supply office door jamb this past January. Wilson had just arrived at Edward Binyah Kesselly Military Barracks from U.S. Army Africa headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.
Aca,!A"At first I thought, Aca,!EoeWow,Aca,!A? look at this big guy, IAca,!a,,cm in trouble,Aca,!A? Mulbah said. Aca,!A"That wasnAca,!a,,ct the case though. He said he was there to help, that anything I didnAca,!a,,ct understand Aca,!" he would find me an answer. I was immediately impressed.Aca,!A?
War raged within LiberiaAca,!a,,cs borders during most of MulbahAca,!a,,cs adult life, a topic he is reluctant to discuss. Three years ago, Mulbah, 35, was working a security job in his native Bong County, when he answered his countryAca,!a,,cs call to be part of a new, professional army. Back then, the radio airwaves were full of AFL recruitment ads. Leaflets were passed out in villages throughout the countryside. Messages encouraging Liberians to serve were put up on posters and aired on television. At the time, Mulbah had just read U.S. President John F. KennedyAca,!a,,cs 1961 inaugural speech, he said. The words, Aca,!A"ask not what your country can do for you Aca,!" ask what you can do for your country,Aca,!A? inspired Mulbah to enlist, he said.
Aca,!A"When your country needs you Aca,!" and you have the chance Aca,!" you should do something that your countrymen will feel long after you are gone,Aca,!A? Mulbah said. Aca,!A"My people should know that if a bullet comes their way, it will not hit them. It will hit me first.Aca,!A?
Bullets are only part of MulbahAca,!a,,cs job, though. He makes sure Liberian troops have all the supplies and equipment needed for training. As the NCO in charge of brigade supply office, MulbahAca,!a,,cs role entails a lot of paperwork, accountability and organization. Wilson offers guidance.
Aca,!A"I always give Sgt. Mulbah credit for doing his best with what the ALF has to work with, be it a broken pen or low on copier paper, they do a great job,Aca,!A? Wilson said.
Mulbah works long hours, a sacrifice he makes not for the money, but for the legacy he will one day leave his eight-year-old son, he said. In fact, most of the humble wages Mulbah earns goes to his son and fiancAfAe who rent a room in nearby Monrovia. He visits them only on weekends.
Aca,!A"They miss me a lot,Aca,!A? Mulbah said. Aca,!A"I miss them too.Aca,!A?
Mulbah quickly climbed the AFL ranks, from private first class to staff sergeant in under two years. He is grateful to have a mentor like Wilson, who has served in Army supply roles for 18 years, to include assignments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Aca,!A"I wish I had him here a long time ago,Aca,!A? Mulbah said. Aca,!A"It would be great if he could stay longer.Aca,!A?
Wilson is part of the Liberia Security Sector Reform, a U.S. State Department-led effort to rebuild Liberian forces. The rapport building between U.S. and Liberian soldiers has been the highlight of the mentoring program, Wilson said.
Aca,!A"WeAca,!a,,cve built a strong and productive team from day one,Aca,!A? Wilson said. Aca,!A"I believe our presence here has made a positive impression and created a relationship that will grow in years to come.Aca,!A?
WilsonAca,!a,,cs mentorship is not the last interaction Mulbah will have with the U.S. Army. In fact, this June he ships out to Fort Lee, Va., where he will go through the U.S. ArmyAca,!a,,cs unit supply course. Wilson, who has done most of his professional training at Fort Lee, downloaded a base map and pointed out to Mulbah where things are and what to expect.
Aca,!A"I was so glad when they told me I would be going to this school,Aca,!A? Mulbah said. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs a great opportunity for me to make new friends, learn new things and bring back knowledge to help Liberia Aca,!" to build a better future for myself, my family and the people.Aca,!A?