Indiana National Guard 1st Lt. Nicole Maenza, a 38th Infantry Division transportation officer from Aurora, Illinois, serves in Jordan supporting Task Force Spartan.

Maenza, who joined ROTC at Valparaiso University, enjoys serving in a community-based organization that also supports her homeland and national interests abroad.

"I get to help out at home whenever there is a natural disaster or weather emergency. I like having that ability to make a difference at home as well as overseas," said Maenza, who has been in the Guard for more than seven years.

While in the Middle East supporting Operation Spartan Shield, Maenza facilitated equipment movement from one country to another and therefore arrived later than the rest of her team.

"Once I arrived I was greeted with nothing but a warm welcome, and I quickly became acquainted with the group and have gotten to work closely with some of them on various projects," she said. "My favorite part about this job so far has been being able to work with this team of soldiers and getting to know them personally and professionally. Even though we are from the same unit, we all come from different backgrounds and possess different skill levels."

And while Maenza works with different soldiers with different skills, the military afforded her the opportunity to learn a new skill for her overseas deployment.

"There are also some different types of schools you get to go to, like the Air Load Planner Course I recently attended at Fort Hood," said Maenza. "I wasn't sure what to expect because I don't know much about aircraft, but it was a neat experience and something I've actually been able to use several times already."

More than 600 38th Infantry Division soldiers left the Hoosier State in May to support Operation Spartan Shield in the Middle East by providing command, control and in-depth staff analysis for approximately 9,500 U.S. service members.

Task Force Spartan helps maintain a U.S. military posture among allied nations to strengthen defense relationships, build partner capacity and deter regional aggression.

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