CHIÈVRES AIR BASE, Belgium – At the age of 24 he left his home country of Cameroon in Africa and moved to Belgium to attend a prestigious university in Mons. And after completing his degree program in business management, he opened his own business, an internet café.
Looking for an opportunity to become more proficient in English, he applied for a part-time job at the Exchange Food Court on Chièvres Air Base while still managing his café. That was 22 years ago, and much has changed for JD Medjo Ondoua since.
First a supply technician at U.S. Army Garrison Benelux for three years, then more than 14 years at Logistics Readiness Center Benelux’s property book office and now the acting LRC Benelux property book officer for the past year, Medjo Ondoua said he’s finally found a home.
“I came to work for the U.S. Army on base to improve my English because I was studying it at school but never put it in practice,” said Medjo Ondoua, who grew up in Sangmélima, Cameroon, but moved to Belgium as a young man.
Married for 33 years to his wife who is also originally from Cameroon but whom he met in Belgium, Medjo Ondoua said life in Belgium compared to Cameroon is poles apart.
The school systems, the job opportunities, the health care, the salaries, the lifestyle – pretty much everything is better here in Belgium, said the proud father of three daughters – one who’s a doctor, one who works for the Belgium government in Brussels, and one who’s studying chemical engineering.
The 61-year-old local national employee – also a new grandfather to a 4-month-old grandson – said he very much enjoys living in Belgium and working at LRC Benelux because it feels like home and family.
“I have a very good team – a very diverse team – who I enjoy working with and consider family. My team members are from around the world. They’re from Belgium, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Senegal, and my chief is from Puerto Rico,” said Medjo Ondoua.
“He brings us some nice coffee from Puerto Rico,” he added with a smile.
“Next month, we have a team building event, and everyone will bring a dish from their home country to share,” said Medjo Ondoua. “My wife will prepare something special and delicious from Cameroon. We have some good African stores downtown (in Mons).”
Medjo Ondoua said he and his team manage the USAG Benelux and LRC Benelux property books.
“We make sure all the items on these property book are assigned and 100 percent accounted for at all times. We make sure all the property and equipment is safe guarded from the time of issue to turn-in or disposal,” he said.
“This is important because if a piece of equipment is lost or stolen, it’s a long and painful process – not only for us but for the unit who lost the equipment,” Medjo Ondoua said. “If a piece of equipment goes missing this can affect the mission, plus we have a responsibility to safeguard and protect this equipment because it’s purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars.”
The LRC Benelux property book office, or PBO, conducts cyclic inventories on a quarterly and annual basis as well as sensitive item inventories every month. The PBO also manages and assist units with Financial Liability Investigation of Property Loss, or FLIPL reports, when a property book item is lost or damaged.
LRC Benelux is one of seven LRCs under the command and control of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade. LRCs execute installation logistics support and services to include supply, maintenance, and transportation as well as clothing issue facility operations, hazardous material management, personal property and household goods, passenger travel, non-tactical vehicle and garrison equipment management, and property book operations. When it comes to providing day-to-day installation services, LRC Benelux directs, manages and coordinates a variety of operations and activities in support of USAG Benelux.
LRC Benelux reports to the 405th AFSB, which is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging U.S. Army Materiel Command’s materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website and the official Facebook site.