Faces From the Front for April 5, 2010 - Staff Sgt. Abel Torres
Current Unit: 1479th Civil Affairs Company
Current Position: Civil Affairs Team Sergeant
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Baghdad, Iraq
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Years of Service: 15
As a child, Staff Sgt. Abel Torres always dreamed of becoming a Soldier. Fifteen years ago, Torres made that dream a reality when he joined the U.S. Army at the age of 22.
Currently deployed to Iraq as a Civil Affairs team sergeant, Torres is responsible for facilitating key leadership engagements, which are meetings between U.S. Soldiers and local Iraqi community leaders. These important engagements seek to strengthen coalition relationships between U.S. Forces and the Iraqi people.
Torres is also responsible for managing Commanders' Emergency Response Program (CERP) projects throughout the Baghdad area. These CERP projects are designed to allow U.S. Forces to respond to urgent humanitarian relief and reconstruction needs. Throughout his time in Iraq, Torres has managed a variety of CERP projects, including the rehabilitation of school buildings and sewer systems, and the installation of solar lights, which help to provide security on dimly lit streets.
Torres realizes the importance of his work in forming a strong relationship between the U.S. and Iraq.
"This is important work, which we hope will win the hearts and minds of the local population," Torres said.
Now, as Torres' deployment draws to a close, he finds himself reflecting on his time in Iraq.
"My most rewarding experiences have been the friends I have made, and the lasting memories I will have of helping so many people and knowing I made a difference," Torres said.
Upon returning home to Brooklyn, N.Y., in May, Torres looks forward to spending time with his mother and his older brother, whom he credits for his desire to join the military.
"My oldest brother joined the Marines when I was very young. Seeing him in uniform and recognizing how proud my dad was of him greatly influenced my decision to join the Army."