FORT KNOX, Ky. -- On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, Tatchie Manso, then a 20-year-old college student, was working in the storeroom of the Gap on Broadway, in Manhattan (seven blocks from the World Trade Center) when a coworker came back from his break and said something was going on outside. He and several other employees went outside to check it out.
"Even though it was 5 miles away, it seemed like with the crowds and everything else, it was a block away; you could see the dust and everything else. You could see people running," said Manso.
In the weeks following the attack, Manso, who hails from West Africa's Ivory Coast, said he made the decision to join the military.
"For me, it was really hard to process what happened and I wanted to do something about it," said Manso. "Prior to that event, I never considered joining the military. It was at that moment I realized that there was something I needed to be part of that was greater than myself."
In October 2001, he was at a Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) about to join the Army when his father, who he calls his role model, called him and asked him to come home and talk about it.
"He said, 'look, I want you to complete your degree,' Manso said. "I felt like he had a reason behind it. I might not understand it, but I always trust his judgement in life, and I'm glad that I did."
In February 2004, he finished his degree and joined the Army in April of that year. He chose the automated logistical specialist career field.
Manso stated why he chose a job in the logistics field.
"I picked logistics initially because it is one of the most important career fields in the world," Manso said. "Without the planning and execution of the distribution of resources and without logistics Soldiers, we would not be able to function or even be able to defend the nation," said the 38-year-old.
Manso deployed to Iraq in 2005 with his first unit, the 4th Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Hood, Texas. He served more than four years with the unit.
As an enlisted sergeant, he was planning to get out of the Army and had started his out-processing when his brigade commander found out. He encouraged him to stay in and become an officer.
"He told me I had too much talent, and that he didn't want me to waste that," Manso said.
His brigade commander then wrote him a letter of recommendation and wrote "exceptional candidate" by his signature.
Within that same day, he had four more letters of recommendation. His package was completed in days. In less than two weeks, he found out he was selected to go to Officer Candidate School.
When they asked him what job he wanted to do as an officer, he told them he wanted to stay in the logistics field.
"I love being able to provide the necessary resources to support the warfighter," Manso said. "I know without logistics, it would be impossible to support any mission."
Now with 16 years under his belt, and a recent promotion to major, he works with 1st TSC's G5 [Operations] on mission planning. His coworkers say he is a good source of information and always willing to help.
"Tatchie's helpfulness is very refreshing to our business," said Maj. Howard Reardon, G35 future operations officer. "I came to the team new from Korea not knowing how the 1st TSC ran. He took the time to orient me and now I'm much better prepared for the mission."
Looking back on his career, Manso said he is glad he made the decision to serve.
"I love what I do in the military and I love being able to support and provide for the team and be part of the 1 percent protecting and serving the country," Manso said.