By Carrie E. David (SMDC/ARSTRAT)April 25, 2013
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - One of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's Department of the Army civilians decided to apply, and was selected, to take supporting the Warfighter to the next level.
Jimmie Sherode, budget analyst in SMDC's G-8 office, began a six-month deployment to Kuwait in February serving as a budget analyst for the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade at Camp Arifjan.
"I knew about Department of the Army civilians volunteering to support the Warfighter in theater, and that interested me, so I went for it," Sherode said. "I submitted my resume, and a week later, I was accepted for the position."
Sherode is in an Army Materiel Command position that was opened up to him through the Army Sustainment Command. He works six days a week, with five of those as 12-hour days.
"As a budget analyst, I assist financially to ensure the brigade and all battalions under it are able to continue their critical missions of ensuring the Warfighters in theater have the necessary resources to achieve their goals," Sherode said.
Sherode said his only off day is Sunday, and he normally spends that with other civilians, Soldiers and contractors.
"I don't get a lot of spare time, and most Sundays on the camp, I do a little spokenword (poetry) and singing at 'open mic' at Starbucks," said Sherode, who is considered a creative type around SMDC. "That's my only creative outlet for now. I wasn't able to ship my conga drums, and I miss playing them in my Reggae band Kush very much."
Sherode, while currently a Department of the Army civilian, is also a veteran. He said he thought this experience would be personally fulfilling.
"I wanted to experience some of the things they endure while being deployed," Sherode said. "It will also benefit my career as a budget analyst. I get to see with my own eyes the impact and importance of understanding and acting on the details in the budget world."
Col. Lester J. Campbell, SMDC deputy chief of staff G-8, said that everyone benefits when civilians deploy.
"When our Department of the Army civilians volunteer to directly support troops in theater, SMDC and the Army gains three-fold," Campbell said. "First the returning civilian has seen firsthand what it takes to support combat operations, and has developed the skills and mentality geared toward effectively and efficiently providing that support. Second, that civilian serves to offset an already heavily burdened military force, especially in the financial management arena. Last, but certainly not least, we just get a better trained and more confident DA civilian."
Sherode said that he is the only current SMDC link to the 402nd AFSB, although he has encountered a few former SMDC civilians and Soldiers at Camp Arifjan.
"I am going to represent SMDC and our G-8 office to the highest standards I can," Sherode said. "I want to thank my entire G-8 chain of command and also Lt. Gen. Richard Formica for having the expeditionary mindset that most great leaders possess to allow me to take this opportunity."
Campbell said he had no reservations about Sherode deploying.
"The kind of people we send downrange to support the Warfighter is important," Campbell said. "Just being there, away from your normal daily routine can take a toll on a person. I had no doubt that Jimmie would excel in that type of environment."