Faces From the Front for November 29, 2010 - Staff Sgt. Robert 'Bo' Brogan
Current Unit: NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, Regional Support Command-North
Current Position: Contract Officer Representative
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Afghanistan
Hometown: Colby, Kan.
Years of Service: 14
Today, U.S. military officials in many parts of Afghanistan are training and preparing the Afghan people for the transfer process as U.S. and NATO forces get ready to leave and give Afghan citizens control. Staff Sgt. Robert ‘Bo’ Brogan knows that there is still much that needs to be done before the transfer is complete and Afghanistan becomes self-sustaining, as a result he is not only contributing to this goal through his work with the Regional Support Command-North but is also volunteering his personal time to assist with the effort.
Currently serving in northern Afghanistan, Brogan is a contract officer representative. In this position, Brogan oversees Afghan contractors to ensure their projects are carried out effectively and safely. The projects Brogan oversees range from construction of forward operating bases (FOB), to renovation, upgrade and improvement of the physical security at Afghan National Police (ANP) and Afghan National Army (ANA) training sites and outposts.
Brogan understands the importance of these projects and the pivotal role they play in handing off control to the Afghans.
“These projects improve the quality of life for the ANA Soldiers and the ANP officers, which raises morale and in turn makes the Soldiers and police officers want to remain in the ANA or ANP and continue the fight to liberate their country,” Brogan explained. “In the past the Soldiers and police officers would leave and not return due to poor living conditions, training conditions, or an outpost or FOB that had insufficient force protection.”
For Brogan, withdrawal from Afghanistan does not only include equipping the ANA and ANP with the necessary tools to remain effective, but also consists of making positive improvements in Afghan communities, leaving the Afghan citizens better off than they were before, and working to forge positive relationships with these people.
For the past few months, Brogan has been volunteering at a local Afghan school where he visits the children a few times a week.
“I help teach the children conversational English. I also teach them things about the United States, like why we celebrate certain holidays,” Brogan said. “We talk about the many sports that we have in the U.S., and about the national landmarks and historical sites and why they have meaning to the people of the United States.”
Upon beginning his volunteer work with the school, Brogan noticed that the children had very few educational materials. He reached out to the officers and noncommissioned officers he works with and collected $385 of donations to purchase books for the students. He’s also working with his friends and family back home to raise money to buy desks, paint for the school building, and a flag and flag pole for the students.
“I’m also working with a friend that is looking into getting a local school from her town to adopt the Afghan school, through the program the students would be able to correspond back and forth with each other,” Brogan explained. “I’ve been busy writing emails, talking with staff members and tracking down the appropriate resources but I am confident that with the help I’m getting and with the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen that have volunteered their time as well, we can make this a successful program that will continue to grow for the future children of Afghanistan.”
Brogan knows that his work with the school is an essential component in shaping the future relationship between the people of America and Afghanistan.
“I believe it is important to educate the younger generation of Afghanistan since they are the future of their country,” Brogan said. “It is important to show the children that America is not bad, that Americans are not out to harm them or take over their country, and it’s important for us to demonstrate a positive influence.”
Brogan is slated to return to the states next spring. He looks forward to spending time with his sons and grandson, and visiting with his mother and extended family in his hometown of Colby, Kan.
“The first thing I will do when I get home is hug my sons and grandson until my arms get sore,” Brogan said.