Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for September 6, 2010 - Staff Sgt. Nicholas Cinelli

Staff Sergeant Nicholas Cinelli

Current Unit: Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 53rd Brigade Support Battalion
Current Position: Security Manager
Component: National Guard
Current Location: Camp Virginia, Kuwait
Hometown: Clearwater, Fla.
Years of Service: 11

Currently deployed to Kuwait, Staff Sgt. Nicholas Cinelli plays a large role in ensuring Soldiers returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan have a smooth transition as they head back to their families. Based at Camp Virginia, a transit camp for those deploying to and from Iraq and Afghanistan, Cinelli protects Soldiers as they prepare to move into combat theater, and as they rest and recuperate on their return to the States.

“My colleagues do a phenomenal job making sure each Soldier, Sailor, Airman and Marine has access to all the comfort and amenities available to them while here on camp,” Cinelli said. “We make sure the communication facility is functioning properly to ensure Soldiers can contact home. We schedule morale, recreation and welfare events for Soldiers to enjoy during their stay at the camp. We also ensure Soldier’s living quarters include heat and air conditioning, electricity and of course, everyone’s favorite, the internet. Basically, we provide all the support for transient Soldiers so all they have to do is focus on contacting family to tell them ‘I’m on my way home.’”

In addition to maintaining the perimeter around the camp, Cinelli deals with any suspicious activities that occur during his watch to protect any personnel on site. He takes pride in providing Service members with a safe haven as they move in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

“It’s very important that all military personnel feel as if their service to the nation is appreciated and recognized,” Cinelli explained. “Each Soldier that has served, regardless of military occupation specialty or duty, is a patriot and needs to be treated as such. It’s our responsibility to let each Soldier know we understand their sacrifice, selfless service and dedication to protecting the American way of life.”

“Soldiers that feel appreciated will have a positive feeling about themselves,” he adds. “That positive feeling helps set a better tone when integrating back with siblings, husbands and wives, and especially children. When our American patriots are appreciated and cared for, it will absolutely make a great homecoming celebration for them and their loved ones.”

As a result of the commitment and dedication he has shown during his time in Kuwait, Cinelli was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant with some of his fellow Soldiers earlier in their deployment.

“Seeing some of the specialists become sergeants while here in Kuwait was really an awesome experience. It’s a big step for a noncommissioned officer (NCO) and it was really great to experience that with some of them.”

Now that his subordinate Soldiers have joined the NCO ranks, Cinelli fulfills his duties by mentoring those newly promoted NCOs.

“I’ve been talking with some of the younger Soldiers and trying to share my experience with them. Making sure they understand how to protect themselves not just physically but financially and spiritually. Trying to prepare them for some of the burdens that unfortunately always seem to appear during a deployment,” Cinelli said. “A lot of the other Senior NCOs and I really made an impact on the younger Soldiers and I think overall we have been really successful in helping them out.”

Working closely with a variety of Soldiers his deployment has allowed Cinelli to gain a deep sense of understanding and trust in others, something he hopes to take with him when he leaves Kuwait.

“My biggest learning factor was realizing how important it is to have faith and trust in your colleagues,” Cinelli said. “If you give them a chance to perform, they will rise to the challenge. This trust will help me going forward in both my civilian and military careers, because once you learn to trust people you become better at making decisions involving delegation of duties and responsibilities.”

Upon returning home to Clearwater, Fla., Cinelli plans to spend plenty of time with his parents, siblings, nephews and nieces. He will also to go back to work at CA, a software firm in Tampa, and begin taking classes towards a master’s degree.

Telling the Army Story: Community Relations

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