Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for May 16, 2011 - Staff Sgt. Robert Rosales III

Staff Sergeant Robert Rosales III

Current Unit: 9th Military Information Support Battalion (Airborne), 4th Military Information Support Group
Current Position: Military Information Support Operations Team Leader
Component: Active
Current Location: Afghanistan
Hometown: El Paso, Texas
Years of Service: 9

As U.S. Soldiers support Afghanistan in establishing a central government and a more stable way of life, Taliban forces labor endlessly to hinder democratic elections, spoil public education and disrupt local communities. Due to this insurgent presence, Afghan community leaders are sometimes reluctant to bond with U.S. forces. To help combat Taliban intimidation, the U.S. Army’s 4th Military Information Support Group (MISG) works to build positive relationships with the local populace.

Staff Sgt. Robert Rosales is currently serving in Afghanistan as a Military Information Support Operations team leader with the 4th MISG. In his work, Rosales engages the Afghan people on a daily basis to find out the specific needs of their communities.

“I talk to the people so that I can get a firm understanding of their lives,” he explained.

After getting a feel for both the mindset of the community and the challenges they face, Rosales assesses the best way for his team to address these issues and offer solutions for the local people.

“I provide them with information about how they can improve their lives and community,” said Rosales.

Rosales and his team supplies informative resources, such as posters and handbills, to local citizens that they can use to build ideas for community development. However, Rosales has found one method in particular to be the most constructive in connecting with community members.

“The best way to reach them is through face-to face key leader engagements,” he explained. “There is no substitute for talking to the population in-person.”

Developing a positive relationship with local communities is critical to the security of the U.S. military in Afghanistan. Without the support of local citizens, Army operations throughout the country would be less dynamic and more vulnerable to the threat of enemy forces.

“Winning hearts and minds is necessary to win the war,” stated Rosales. “It is important so that the Army can conduct operations safely and without incident.”

In addition to ensuring the wellbeing of Soldiers, Rosales and his Soldiers are focused on establishing a steady and positive connection with the people of Afghanistan which is vital to overcoming Taliban influence.

“We must instill the desire for the Afghan people to take care in matters relating to their country’s stability and governance,” explained Rosales. “This deployment has allowed me the opportunity to observe and better understand the Afghan culture. I have built close relationships with many of the Afghan locals and I have come to believe that they can succeed in deterring insurgency.”

Connecting with the local populace is just one of the many skills Rosales has honed during his nine years of service. A Bronze Star Medal recipient, his commitment to his country has only continued to grow since enlisting in the Army at a young age.

“I joined when I was 17 years old because I wanted to buy a house and pay for college. Now, I have a college degree and own a home, and have decided that I love serving America—and that is why I serve today.”

Rosales’ dedication coupled with his career achievements have not only motivated him to continue his Army service, but also inspired his younger brother, Pfc. Randy Rosales, to follow in his footsteps.

“My brother has joined the Army Reserve because of my success in the military,” Staff Sgt. Rosales said.

This shared legacy of service has strengthened the bond between the two siblings.

“It means a lot to me, in the sense of that big brother-little brother relationship,” Rosales said of his brother’s enlistment. “I believe that our brotherhood has become stronger, as we are now not only bound by blood, but by our oath to serve the United States of America.”

Rosales is scheduled to come home soon, and plans to return to his home in El Paso, Texas. Upon arrival, he looks forward to spending time with his wife as they prepare for the arrival of their baby.

Telling the Army Story: Community Relations

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