CONTINGENCY OPERATING SITE MAREZ, Iraq -- Since deploying to U.S. Division -- North last fall, Soldiers from 4th Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, assumed responsibility for the mission of advising, training and assisting Iraqi Security Forces in support of Operation New Dawn.

At Patrol Base 8, Spc. Ghislain Nfonga, a combat medic from Killeen, Texas, assigned to 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th AAB, is responsible for teaching Iraqi Army soldiers combat lifesaving techniques.

"I enjoy working with the ISF soldiers and teaching them first aid skills that can potentially save a life," said Nfonga.

Originally from Cameroon, Nfonga enlisted in the U.S. Army after attending the University of Buea, where he earned a bachelor's degree in microbiology.

"I wanted to be able to use my medical background, and also discover what the U.S. Army was all about," said Nfonga.

Currently on his first deployment, the combat medic also works in the tactical operations center at Patrol Base 8, where he assists fellow troopers with planning and coordinating the unit's mission.

Recently recognized as the "Long Knife Strong" Soldier of the Week, Nfonga not only coordinates the medical training at the remote joint installation, but also fulfills his duties as a medic by supporting his fellow troopers on the base, as well as during daily patrols.

"I was surprised to receive the recognition I did with this award," said Nfonga. "It's not easy being a combat medic, but I love what I do. I'm happy people outside of our patrol base understand how hard we work here."

Along with his daily duties at the patrol base, Nfonga also finds time off duty to read books and research medical techniques he can use to enhance his health care specialty skills.
"Nfonga is a hard worker, and is always 100% committed to accomplishing the mission here," said Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Casto, platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, Troop C, 2nd Sqdn., 7th Cav. Regt.

Casto said he recommended Nfonga for the weekly 4th AAB award because of Nfonga's drive and dedication to the unit's mission.

"(Nfonga) built the aid station here," said Casto. "He goes on daily joint dismounted patrols with the ISF soldiers and he also helps out around the TOC. He's not just a combat medic, he's a well-rounded Soldier."