Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for May 24, 2010 - Sgt. James Piland

Sergeant James Piland

Current Unit: 36th Engineer Brigade
Current Position: Logistics Officer
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Camp Afrijan, Kuwait
Hometown: Buffalo, Mo.
Years of Service: 20

U.S. Army Soldiers are some of the most committed men and women in the world, both in their dedicated service to the American public and in their allegiance to one another. Sgt. James Piland is no exception to this rule.

When Piland's unit, the 739th Engineer Company received orders to deploy to Iraq last year, the Soldier was not slated to accompany them overseas. However, this all changed when Piland was informed that one of his fellow Soldiers was struggling to fulfill his deployment obligation. Piland, showing his devotion to his country and to his Soldiers, volunteered to take his comrade's place and headed off to Kuwait with his unit.

"I was notified that I was a secondary on a list for deployment and that one of the primaries was afraid that he would lose his farm if he was deployed," Piland explained. "So I asked to be made a primary in his place."

In Kuwait, while his unit was awaiting their pass into Iraq, Piland was informed that he would not be accompanying his unit to their final destination.

"I was tasked as a logistics officer in Kuwait with the 194th Engineer Brigade, and my unit went on to Iraq," Piland said.

While being separated from his unit overseas has been challenging for Piland, he views this experience as unique opportunity to interact with new people, as he's responsible for supporting logistics movements for the entire brigade.

"Being separated from my unit has been hard and I miss the friends I've made in the unit" Piland said. "But it's also been a wonderful experience in that it has allowed me to interact with fellow service members from difference branches and all levels."

As a logistics officer first with the 194th Engineer Brigade and now with the 36th Engineer Brigade, Piland is working to ensure that all Army equipment and cargo reach their intended destinations.

"I see that units redeploying home get their vehicles and cargo returned to their home station," Piland said. "Additionally, I'm responsible for seeing that more than $10 million in Caterpillar parts are shipped to the correct bases in Iraq or Afghanistan for equipment repairs."

Piland knows that his work is important in helping the Army accomplish its mission, and he is proud to serve his country overseas.

However, Piland misses his family greatly and looks forward to returning home to Buffalo, Mo., in late 2010.

"When I return from my deployment the first thing I plan to do is spend some time with my beautiful wife and family."

Telling the Army Story: Community Relations

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