Faces From the Front for June 21, 2010 - Sgt. 1st Class Mamadou Diallo
Current Unit: 418th Civil Affairs Battalion
Current Position: Logistics NCO
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Djibouti, Africa
Hometown: Fria, Republic of Guinea
Years of Service: 16
Sgt. 1st Class Mamadou Diallo always knew that he wanted to help people in some way, but many years ago, when he moved away from his native land, the Republic of Guinea in western Africa, he had no idea that he would end up making a difference in the lives of the African people through the U.S. Army.
“It is a dream that became true. I have always yearned to help people, and now, to be able to help people in mother Africa, I am thankful. I get to interact with the people directly and we share the same history, culture and experiences. It's amazing and I am very happy for the opportunity,” Diallo said.
Diallo moved to the U.S. in 1992, and he was excited to partake in the opportunities that democracy provided.
“I grew up admiring equality and fairness- these were not available to me in Guinea,” Diallo said. “A military government was still ruling the country and there was corruption and absence of rules of law.”
Shortly after coming to America, Diallo became interested in serving in the Army.
“I first inquired about the military in 1992. I soon realized that it was too early. I needed to learn English and change my visitor visa status to permanent resident. I kept my interest and pressed on,” Diallo explained. “In late 1993 my application for permanent resident status was approved, then in January, 1994 I went back and joined the Army.”
Now in Djibouti, which is located in northeast Africa, Diallo is serving as a logistics noncommissioned officer (NCO), working to transport the supplies needed to facilitate humanitarian assistance and civil affairs missions. Diallo is proud to contribute to missions designed to improve the locals' way of life and empower them to combat terrorism.
“The greatest thing about civil affairs in my mind is the capability to reach people in their own environment and work with them. Sometimes it is an English discussion group or movie night in a local village. When combined, these simple things encourage individuals to join hands to improve their well being,” Diallo said.
Diallo has found that his ability to speak French and the native languages of Fulani and Soso have come in handy during his deployment, as he translates documents for his fellow Soldiers and other departments.
The Soldier knows that his work is important not only in assisting the Army to accomplish its mission but also in helping the African people.
“This is the rebirth of Africa,” Diallo said. “I see an opportunity and a second chance for Africa to empower its people and clean up the house.”
Scheduled to return home to Burlington, N.J., in September, Diallo looks forward to spending time with his children and his wife, Staff Sgt. Lorretta Diallo, who also serves with the Army.
“I am very thankful for a wife who is also a Soldier and has a clear understanding of military life,” Diallo said. “She is very supportive of me.”
Diallo and his wife met in 2001 when she was sent to replace him at the Combat Support Hospital in Erie, Pa., when he moved to a different unit.
“We served together in Erie in different units, we built our relationship and then decided to get married in 2003.”