By Claudia LaMantiaJune 19, 2019
With a quiet demeanor, Staff Sgt. Govinda L. Acuna makes his way to work earlier than anyone else in the 595th Transportation Brigade. Before 6 a.m. he bikes through the mid-90s weather into a guarded warehouse that is a beehive of activity for numerous military branches.
In the hub of it all is the command operations center for the 595th and that is where he spends most of the sunlight hours for at least six days a week, according to Capt. Jose D. Chacon, chief of the command operations center.
Trained primarily as a motor transport operator, with an additional duty as the brigade postal officer, Acuna has transitioned smoothly from his career field into the operations arena. He adapted into his role of transportation coordinator noncommissioned officer and made it seamless for those around him.
Acuna personifies what every Soldier should strive for.
"He's the subject matter expert for everything," said Master Sgt. Nathan L. Caruso, noncommissioned officer in charge of the command operations center (COC).
The COC monitors military equipment moving in and out of the Central Command area of responsibility. This includes 20 nations and in them; a variety of ports, copious roadways, and some airports. With a web of movement, and several commands needing information for their missions, the COC provides the data needed when requested.
When the commander wants something, "I turn to Acuna because he delivers, he's competent, he figures it out and makes it look simple," said Caruso.
He is the "nucleus" of the COC, according to Chacon. "A hard worker, high performer, he learns and gets it. He's also very respectful and loyal to this section, his unit, and this country."
His performance can be described as flawless yet the path he's traveled to get there included a significant challenge.
In search of better opportunities, the Brazilian born 34-year-old moved to America in 2003 and lived in Florida and California before enlisting in the Army in 2010.
"I always wanted to be part of the military. I like the structure and discipline and how there is a method for everything," said Acuna.
A year into his enlistment he received a medical diagnosis that put his career on hold. Up to that point, he had been recognized several times for his work as a Soldier, receiving coins of recognition and featured in the local base newspaper.
The diagnosis resulted in a medical evaluation board. However, his work was not impacted and Acuna wanted to stay and continue his service with the Army, still, he had to prove his intentions and will to the board. In the midst of it all, his request for naturalization was finished and approved.
The year after obtaining his American citizenship, he traveled to San Antonio, Texas and presented his case. After a tense period of providing evidence, the president of the board granted his request without hesitation and Acuna was able to proceed with his military career. He was transferred to Ft. Carson, Colorado and from there received orders to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, where his officer in charge is more than happy to have him.
"He knows what we need in the COC and is a crucial link, it will be painful if/when he leaves," said Chacon.
Acuna expects to back in the U.S. in early 2020. Until then, he plans on continuing his regiment of getting up hours before the sunrise to push iron in the gym, then head to work, and complete a daily video chat with his wife, Ayde, who is in Colorado Springs waiting for his return.