Operation Tribute to Freedom

OTF Soldier Story for April 19, 2010 - Col. Maurice Clemons

Colonel Maurice Clemons

Current Unit: National Guard Bureau
Current Position: Multi-functional Logistician
Component: National Guard
Current Location: Dumfries, Va.
Hometown: Montgomery, Ala.
Years of Service: 23

Just weeks after returning from Iraq, Col. Maurice Clemons and his wife traveled to visit their son at college. After hearing about his father’s experiences overseas, Micah Clemons informed his parents of his own plans to enroll in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program at Coastal Carolina University so that he too could serve his country and family in uniform.

With his decision to serve in the Army, Micah continues in a family legacy of military service that dates back to the 1860s. Beginning with a relative who served as one of the few black sergeants for the Union forces during the Civil War, at least one member of each generation has answered the call to duty.

“Part of my calling to join the military was a sense of obligation, duty and loyalty; not only to our great nation, but to the family as well,” Col. Clemons said. “I am proud to be a Soldier.”

During his deployment to Iraq from March 2009 to March 2010, the father served as the Senior Logistics Advisor to the Iraqi Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics. Assigned to the Multi-National Security Transition Command- Iraq, he worked to help build systems and design procedures that would improve the Iraqi army’s logistics, including the maintenance of vehicles and the distribution of uniforms and weapons to troops.

“We took a problem and tried to solve it. In many ways, it was a reactive system, but we were also trying to create responsive systems that would be beneficial in preventing future delays,” said Clemons. “Logistics run the Iraqi Army, not the other way around.”

For meritorious service throughout his deployment, Clemons was awarded the Bronze Star Medal.

“Back when I was a lieutenant, I heard people get awards and say they were just doing their job. I didn’t think I’d say that, but now I am. I was just doing my job, so I was surprised and honored to receive the award,” he said.

Clemons also notes several changes in today’s Soldiers compared to when he joined the Army 23 years ago.

“Multiple deployments are creating better leaders, both as officers and noncommissioned officers,” he said. “Today’s Soldiers have to be well-versed on the tactical side, technical side and diplomatic side of war, and to reach that goal, their training has changed for the better.”

After returning from Iraq in March, Clemons currently serves with the National Guard Bureau in Arlington, Va., and he and his wife live in Dumfries, Va. Within the next five years, Clemons plans to retire, and he and his wife hope to launch a foundation to create a support system for Soldiers returning home from deployments, particularly National Guard Soldiers who have civilian occupations.

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