Faces From the Front for June 7, 2010 - Sgt. Arnikko Janise Walters
Current Unit: U.S. Forces - Afghanistan
Current Position: Human Resource NCO
Current Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
Hometown: DeRidder, La.
Years of Service: 5
On June 14, Americans will celebrate the Army’s Birthday and commemorate the establishment of an organization which was created to defend our nation and whose mission has remained unchanged to this day. Sgt. Arnikko Janise Walters will participate in this celebration from Afghanistan, by remembering those who have served and honoring those who continue to serve.
“I salute everyone before me and all who are present with me answering the call of duty that gives freedom to our loved ones, our fellow Americans, and those who need help,” Walters said.
Walters knows that her service in Afghanistan has allowed her a unique place in the history of an organization that has been committed to protecting the American people for 235 years.
“It feels good to know that I am part of history,” Walters said. “It is easy to read history books and hear stories from my peers and leaders about their service, but to have your own story and experience brings it to reality. Now that I have served overseas, it puts things into a whole new perspective as to the men and women who risk their lives so that others can enjoy freedom.”
A graduate student at Strayer University, Walters showed her personal commitment to Army service when she dropped everything to answer the call to duty and serve her country overseas.
“I received an incomplete on my last class for my masters due to deployment,” Walters explained.
“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.”
The Soldier, who was working toward her graduate degree in human resource management, plans to finish her last course when she returns home from Kabul. However, for the time being Walters is using her deployment as a human resource noncommissioned officer (NCO) to hone the professional skills she’ll use on her chosen career path.
In her current role, Walters is responsible for ensuring that all administrative tasks are taken care of for her Soldiers.
“We help with providing assistance with personnel issues, financial issues, redeployment, transportation, and supplies,” Walters said. “Anything the service member needs help with, we are there.”
Walters understands that her work is important because it makes life easier for her fellow Soldiers, which in turn, helps them to concentrate on completing their mission.
“We ensure that service members stay mission-oriented and are not distracted by the everyday odds and ends that my section can easily take care of,” Walters said. “We try to figure out what the service members will need before they need it. They can walk in with a problem, and walk out with a solution.”
During her time in Afghanistan, Walters, a member of the Army Reserve, has learned a great deal. She has not only extended her human resources skills, which will serve as an asset in her future civilian career, she has also grown as a Soldier.
“I have matured in terms of my work responsibility, my leadership skills and my initiative,” Walters said. “I have had the opportunity to work with great leaders that have opted to mentor me and not just lead. When my leaders see an opportunity to teach and mentor me, it’s a chance for me to better myself and any subordinates I encounter in my career.”
In addition to her work as a human resource NCO, Walters spends her time teaching NCO development courses to her fellow Soldiers and participating in volunteer missions with the local girls’ school.
“The mission hit home because females are often limited on the opportunities they have due to society,” Walters explained of her work with the school. “With this project we were able to reach out to the local population and show them that we care about their problems and we support their efforts to give young girls the opportunity to have a decent education.”
“The expression on the children’s faces showed appreciation for what we were doing, letting us know that our mission was a success.”
Walters will return home this fall, she looks forward to spending time with her family in DeRidder, La.