By Sgt. Steven LopezJanuary 11, 2019
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - As the heat rises in southeast Afghanistan, Spc. Justin R. Fouche, a 91D tactical power generation specialist, assigned to Company E, 5th Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) from Garner, North Carolina, continues to work on a power generation system with unwavering focus.
"He's the type of Soldier who doesn't want to stop until he's finished," said Staff Sgt. Stephen Fleming, platoon sergeant for Company E, 5-101 CAB, 101st Abn. Div., "He definitely sees the end result of his hard work."
As a 91D, Fouche is responsible for the supervision, performance and maintenance of power generation equipment and internal combustion engines, both mobile and stationary. This makes his military occupational specialty a vital component to his battalion's overall success.
"My MOS supports the unit by providing power for equipment that is needed to accomplish the mission," said Fouche. "The supply of power provides the battalion with electricity, heat, and air-conditioning and allows the tactical operation center to communicate with aircraft."
Fouche currently serves as the only 91D assigned to his battalion in Afghanistan; making his duties significantly more dire for his unit's success. This also comes with some adversity.
Fouche emphasized that waking up at any time of the night and learning aspects of his job on-the-go are some of the challenges he faces.
"It's a heavy amount of weight on my shoulders," said Fouche. "I have major responsibilities and the task force relies on me significantly for providing an entire battalion's power supply."
In 2016, Fouche was influenced by his brother and decided to enlist in the Army to learn a new skill. After graduating advanced individual training, Fouche was assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky as his first duty station.
"I knew that in the future, especially during deployment, Fouche's maintenance readiness was going to be magnified, and he was definitely going to be a huge asset to the unit's success," said Fleming. "We practiced the basics and fundamentals by performing maintenance on different types of power generation equipment."
During training, Fouche showed promise by learning everything he could as fast as he could. And with a deployment to Afghanistan looming, training became the top priority in preparing a Soldier with little experience in maintenance.
Fleming stated that Fouche had the correct amount of ambition, drive and pride. Those qualities identified Fouche as someone he could depend on.
"He has excelled in his resourcefulness; there wasn't a significant ground maintenance impact for the unit when we arrived to Afghanistan," said Fleming. "The facilitation of petroleum, oil, repair parts and even tools were scarce; he has had to be very resourceful."
Fouche said that he was thankful for deploying when he did. The experience that he has gained from the deployment has been invaluable.
At the end of the day, it might be Fouche's willingness to accomplish the mission, no matter the circumstances, that allows him to strive as a maintainer. This experience has brought skills and knowledge he can impart onto others and maintain readiness for the battalion.
"After two years, he is still that motivated Soldier who will start a mission at 5:30 a.m. and won't stop until the mission is complete," said Fleming.