By Joyce M. Conant, ARL Public AffairsMarch 27, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (March 27, 2014) -- Kenny Light, a human factors engineer in the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Human Research and Engineering Directorate at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., began working for ARL in August 2010. Since then, he has always wanted to deploy and support the Warfighter.
Light had his opportunity last year when he deployed to Afghanistan for six months, returning home in August 2013.
While there, Light was a science and technology advisor supporting the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Field Assistance in Science and Technology program.
As an S&T advisor, he maintained and updated the list of requests for information, led the weekly video teleconference and updated the bimonthly Research, Development and Engineering Command briefing slides.
When asked what he enjoyed the most or found the most rewarding, Light said, "Supporting my boss, the science and technology acquisition corps advisor (Brig. Gen. William Cole...who was a colonel at the time) and working with other RDECOM subject matter experts to make improvements to systems. I also volunteered to deliver clothes and school supplies to a local school ... that was fun."
Light also served on the mass casualty evacuation team. This team was comprised of both military and civilian members and was responsible for responding to mass casualty events by providing initial first aid and transportation to/from the designated treatment areas.
"I wanted to support the Warfighter," Light said. "I wanted to learn more about their deployment conditions and do my part to help."
Light, who is not former military, did get to experience firsthand some of the 'not so fun' parts of deployment.
"Traveling in/out of country, long waits for flights, dragging 100 pounds of bags around, sleeping in a tent with 100 of your closest friends (ha ha) and being away from family were some of my least favorite parts," Light said. "I was stationed at New Kabul Compound. It was almost like being in a college dorm. I shared a room and bathroom with one other person, the food was great, they had nice exercise facilities ... all in all, no complaints."
As a married man and father of five children, Light needed the support of his family.
"My wife, Laura, was hesitant at first, but I bugged her about it enough over a period of two years that she finally said okay," Light said. "I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to serve in this way. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has not previously deployed. I hope to do it again in a few years -- assuming my wife lets me."
The leadership at HRED stands behind their employees and realizes the importance of deployments.
"Kenny is just an outstanding gentleman who is constantly striving to improve his abilities to serve our Soldiers," said Dr. Alan Davison, chief, Maneuver and Mobility Branch, HRED. "He is always ready to take on new challenges and quickly develops significant expertise in the area.
"Kenny's service in Afghanistan was an opportunity for him to provide his technical expertise to an important job and at the same time learn first-hand about operations in theater. We are glad to have him back safe and sound. Kenny is a great gentleman of the highest character."
ABOUT ARMY RESEARCH LABORATORY
ARL is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness-technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection and sustainment-to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates
with it, AMC provides it.