FORT KNOX, Ky. -- Deployment. Within the Soldier’s Creed it states: “I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.” It is a creed that every Soldier commits to and this Army Civilian ensures the Soldiers on his team can live by.
Retired Army 1st Sgt. James Stover, a native of northern Ohio, serves as a deployment specialist for the 1st Theater Sustainment command. He and his team shoulder a large responsibility for ensuring deployment readiness within the organization.
Since 2006, the 1st TSC has provided operational sustainment support to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, routinely deploying Soldiers to theater to conduct sustainment operations. This support ensures the warfighters have the supplies and transportation capabilities they need to accomplish their mission.
Soldiers assigned to the 1st TSC rotate through six-month deployments to Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, which is why deployment readiness is essential. The continuous cycle of troops in and out of theater requires significant time, planning and effort to maintain seamless transitions. That’s where Stover and his team come in.
Stover is in charge of the planning and execution of deployment and redeployment operations, including training, administrative, medical and logistical readiness for the deploying Soldiers and Army Civilians. This also includes the planning and coordination of movement to and from theater, which allows the rest of the staff to focus on daily mission and leadership requirements.
Command Sgt. Maj. Carey Welsh, senior enlisted advisor, Special Troops Battalion, 1st TSC, said, “The Special Troops Battalion is not given the mobilization cell by Army authorization, and with the limited staff that the STB has, they would be unable to perform other functions if the staff was required to perform all of the mobilization functions.”
“The deployment cell is perhaps the most important element of the STB staff as it is the section that ultimately provides forward-force projection for the 1st TSC,” Welsh said. “In short, the STB’s force-generation efforts would most likely fail without the MOB Cell.”
Stover is no stranger to being deployed overseas. As a cavalry scout, he deployed to Bosnia and served two combat tours in Iraq during his 21 years of service.
It was during the first month at his first duty station, Fort Polk, Louisiana, that he was deployed to Bosnia.
“I joined my unit in theater,” he said. “Being an 18-year-old kid, it was kind of scary not having ever been outside of the United States, and barely having traveled outside of Ohio.”
Following the events of 9/11, Stover deployed to Iraq in 2003 at the tail end of the invasion to relieve the 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad. Now a staff sergeant, he explained how being deployed in Iraq helped him understand the value of being prepared.
“Being a cavalry scout involves a lot of planning and trying to mitigate every possible circumstance,” Stover said. “Especially in Iraq, the thing I saw get people in trouble was not being prepared… not doing your training.”
Stover emphasized the importance of pre-deployment training regardless of the location of the deployment. A deployment to Kuwait may not seem dangerous, but the need to be prepared for all scenarios should always be at the forefront of Soldiers’ minds.
“You’re still in CENTCOM. You’re still in an area where a terror attack can reach out and touch you in Kuwait,” he warned. “If they can get you here, they can get you there.”
Another line in the Soldier’s Creed reads: “I am disciplined, physically, and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.”
Through his deployment experiences, Stover also gained an appreciation for task proficiency. He stated that the lack of proficiency leads to the casualties in combat.
“When something happens and you’re not proficient and you’re not training and you don’t know what to do, that’s when the bad stuff happens,” Stover said. “That’s when somebody dies or somebody gets hurt.”
The Soldier’s Creed states: “I will always place the mission first.”
Stover’s commitment to the mission is something he prides himself upon and is something Welsh has noticed as well.
“I derive a lot of personal satisfaction from working hard and completing a task or mission to a high standard,” Stover said.
“His character is what you would expect of the most seasoned senior Army leader, and his dedication to our mission is unmatched,” Welsh said.
The Soldier’s Creed is recited daily at Basic Combat Training as it provides a foundation for trainees to build upon as they work towards earning the title of Soldier.
The creed guided Stover from a shy 17-year-old from Ohio into a battle hardened senior NCO after 21 years of service. The foundation built from the creed has allowed Stover to thrive as an Army civilian. Even in retirement, he stands true to the Soldier’s Creed.