By Sgt. Ryan HohmanJanuary 14, 2011
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - Third Army's Civil-Military Operations Center conducted its first assessment trip since being activated in August of 2010 to the Republic of Tajikistan Dec. 16-23.
"Our main mission during the trip was to assess two school construction projects and a polio orphanage and assist the people of Tajikistan in disaster preparedness and disaster response," said Lt. Col. Robyn Truman, a Berlin, Vt. native, who serves as an operation officer with the CMOC.
With a magnitude 5.3 quake recently leaving at least 10,000 people homeless in Tajikistan Jan. 3, Truman spoke of the importance in building up their disaster response capabilities.
"Tajikistan's disaster response training currently consists of 70 percent chemical, biological, and radiological, and 30 percent natural disaster training based on Soviet era lecture training," said Truman. "We want to help the country to be more prepared for future disasters by implementing more hands on training with a higher focus on natural disasters."
Assisting Tajikistan to prepare for these disasters helps Third Army Shape the Future by providing stability in their time of need.
"If they have faith in their government, they are less likely to join terrorist organization and revolt during a crisis," said Truman.
Truman got a chance to interact with the children while inspecting the construction of new roofs for the schools and visiting an orphanage.
"The children were so happy to see us," said Truman. "Even with having so little, the children were full of so much love."
Despite the headway they have been able to make in their short time, Truman spoke about some of the hardships the children in Tajikistan face every day.
"For five hours a day they don't have electricity at the school, and it's a cold climate ranging from 20 to 30 degrees," said Truman. "The students have to huddle up and wear heavy coats during school."
Seeing this reaffirmed Truman's belief in the importance in Third Army's civil affairs missions throughout its 20-country area of responsibility.
"This job gives me the chance to really help people," said Truman. "The best way for us to let the people know that we are not there to harm them but to help with stability is to actually get out there and start helping the people."
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