By John B. SnyderSeptember 18, 2008
WATERVLIET ARSENAL, N.Y. - We can't call Adam M. Nieckarz one of the forgotten. Maybe, he is one of the relatively unknown who proudly and fully support our nation's warfighters.
When Nieckarz was five, he often went to his dad's workplace, the U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal, and wondered how great it would be to work on one of the giant-sized machines or overhead cranes that supported the manufacturing of what his dad, Paul Nieckarz, called "stuff" for Soldiers.
When Nieckarz turned 12, that wonder turned into a passion. No longer young enough to hold his dad's hand during visits like he used to do, but young enough to still have that boyish grin and excitement that 12-year-olds get when they are with their dads.
Last year, Nieckarz's passion turned into reality. He followed in his dad's footsteps and became part of the Department of the Army civilian workforce at the Arsenal where he worked as a rotary forge operator.
Working alongside his dad made Nieckarz happy, but there was something else on his mind when he joined the Arsenal. His wonder and passion had changed - it had turned into a "calling." In essence, to serve his country during a time of conflict would bring job satisfaction to Nieckarz way beyond his childhood expectations.
What is often missed during our nation's conflicts, is our civilian workforce who is dedicated to supporting our warfighters. According to Department of the Army statistics, more than 250,000 civilians proudly serve in today's Army.
Similar to Soldiers, these DA civilians take an oath to support and defend the constitution of the United States. They proudly and honorably serve, but little is known about their efforts to keep our nation safe. They serve in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in our Army's depots and arsenals.
During the past year, Nieckarz did all he could do to support our Soldiers. He had wonderment, passion, and a sense of duty, as do the other 600 DA civilians at the arsenal.
And in a quiet memorial service this month at the arsenal, Nieckarz was remembered for his love of the arsenal and his proud service to his country.
Nieckarz, 22, died Aug. 16 as the result of injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. He was from Cambridge, N.Y.
The arsenal, the U.S. Army, and our nation have lost a quiet, relatively unknown DA civilian who did his best to support his country. The arsenal will miss him and our nation should, too.