Face of Defense: Army Brothers Bring Civilian Expertise to Mideast Deployment
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait --
Two brothers deployed here with the Kentucky Army National Guard are able to tap into their professional lives as engineers while serving with the Area Support Group-Kuwait Directorate of Public Works.
Army Capt. William Parker is the project officer for DPW. His brother, Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Parker, serves as DPW's projects noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
They both serve as contract officer representatives, the on-site adviser to government contractors.
The Parker brothers are members of the 613th Engineering Facilities Detachment headquartered in Springfield, Kentucky.
The duo are tapping into their civilian engineering backgrounds to supervise contracts, and improve the quality of life for service members deployed here.
"Due to operational requirements, Area Support Group-Kuwait relies on the National Guard and Reserve components to complete its mission," said Army Col. Shannon Nielsen, commander of Area Support Group-Kuwait. "These multi-component soldiers bring a specialized capability to our team."
"It has been a unique opportunity for me to use what I do in the civilian world in order to really do some good," Bryan said. "My civilian employer is Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities in Louisville, Kentucky. I am an environmental engineer within the company's environmental affairs department."
He added, “Being the environmental contract officer representative at DPW allows me to use my knowledge and experience to make an impact on the operations in Kuwait.”
William said his electrical engineering expertise “comes in very handy,” since he’s also the diesel generator contracting officer representative.
“Because of that,” he added, “I am usually given projects that are mostly electrical as my knowledge in electrical theory and standards come in handy to make sure the contractor is delivering the correct products."
The support of their employers back home makes deployments possible. "I get support from the people I work with; a lot of them are veterans themselves," Bryan said. "The company is also supplementing my salary while I've been on orders. This is a huge benefit the company provides, and their support of the National Guard and Reserve is one of the primary reasons I wanted to work there."