By Capt. Matthew GilbertAugust 1, 2017
MIHAIL KOGALNICEANU, Romania - Staff Sgt. Robert Price, an equipment operations specialist with the 230th Sustainment Brigade, Tennessee Army National Guard, went to Eastern Europe to support Exercise Saber Guardian 17, NATO's largest military training exercise in the region.
The exercise, led by the U.S. Army Europe, spans across Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania involving over 25,000 troops from 23 nations. Soldiers from the Chattanooga-based 230th joined the exercise in July and August to take charge of the logistics, personnel and equipment of the operation.
"The purpose of Saber Guardian is to prove the efficiency, strength and timely deployment of multiple American and NATO assets anywhere we are needed," explained Price. "We are here to assure our allies that we are ready and capable to stand firm at their side if needed."
Price spent most of his time in the Tennessee Army National Guard's tactical operations center (TOC). Located at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, Romania, the TOC serves as the nerve center of the operation. Soldiers working in the TOC ensure the militaries of Saber Guardian 17 have the personnel, equipment, and supplies they need to remain on schedule.
"My section, the operations or 'S3' section, serves as a problem solver," explained Price. "When an obstacle pops up that blocks the mission from continuing smoothly, we have to figure out how it affects our mission, and then push the right information to our reporting units."
Price's job is important - without service members like him, training operations like Saber Guardian 17 would not have the support needed to succeed.
"If we do not perform our duties there would be a serious lack of communication," stated Price. "This could throw a mission into complete failure, cause injury or worse - and it's my job to make sure this never happens."
Price is no stranger to answering the call of duty. During his military career he has gone to Poland, deployed to Kuwait, twice to Iraq, and this is his second time in Romania.
Price is a mail carrier for the United States Postal Service in Farragut, Tenn. when he is not serving in the National Guard. "Being a Federal employee, I am able to perform my military duties with full support of all levels of my civilian supervisors," Price stated. "Veterans have a reputation of being some of the most dependable and hardest working postal workers, and I do my best to meet that standard."
Price, with over two decades in the Tennessee Army National Guard, credits his family for leading him into the military.
"I always knew that I wanted to be in the military. When I was just 17 years old, my cousin, who was also in the Guard, helped me talk my mother into signing papers for me to join the military," said Price.
Being in the military has been one of the most rewarding experiences in Price's life.
"Some of my favorite memories revolve around me being in uniform, including my wedding which was performed at our unit in Chattanooga. No matter what life has in store for me after I decide to retire, my Guard family will always be in my heart and on my mind."
"I would just like to say that my 26 plus years in the Tennessee Army National Guard have been an honor," concluded Price.