Faces From the Front for February 22, 2010 - Sgt. 1st Class Alfred Weaver
Current Unit: 95th Training Division/ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Afghanistan Engineer District - South (AES)
Current Position: Construction Supervisor
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Qalat, Afghanistan
Hometown: Muskogee, Okla., and Vian, Okla.
Years of Service: 30
Ask Sgt. 1st Class Alfred Weaver what has surprised him most about his current deployment to Afghanistan and he'll give you an answer that is different from those most of his fellow Soldiers would offer.
"It's the fact that no one refers to me as gramps, grandpa or old timer," Weaver says with a smile.
At 55, Weaver has served in the military for more than 30 years. With 13 years on active duty and two years reserve status for the Army, 15 years in the National Guard and four years in the Marine Corps, Weaver's service record reads like a compilation of accomplishments from multiple service members. Currently deployed to the Zabul Province of Afghanistan, Weaver is supporting operations for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Afghanistan Engineer District - South (AES) as a road inspector and as force protection.
The multiple job responsibilities mean Weaver's days are sometimes spent supervising and collecting data from road construction projects or serving as a force protection gunner when USACE civilian workers go into local communities to complete work. If a situation is deemed too dangerous to allow USACE personnel to venture outside the wire, Weaver will go in with the Security Liaison Team to gather the data needed to compile reports for the resident engineer to arrange payments, and provide information for the assigned engineers to maintain project progress records.
Now into his second year in Afghanistan, Weaver feels a connection to the mission and the region and wants to see through much of the work he has supported over the course of his deployment.
"After my first six months in country and being exposed to the local culture via humanitarian operations with the Navy Garrison that was here on Forward Operating Base Apache, I was compelled by my personal convictions to extend my tour to assist in any way possible to help the Army Corps of Engineers and the garrison build a better life for the people of the region, and to assist in deterring the armed aggression of the Taliban," Weaver said.
Weaver credits his passion for service and helping those in need for fueling his desires to stay in Afghanistan.
"The possibility exists that I will be here for at least a partial completion of one of our road projects and to be a part of something of that magnitude really brings a sense of pride and belonging to a person. Especially when it is for a people who are struggling as the Afghans are. To show them how much better their lives will be because of new roads is one of the reasons why I extended with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," Weaver said.
When he finally returns home, Weaver will return to his work as a telecom technician and electrician at Camp Gruber in Braggs, Okla.