Spirit of America's Blog
We are Hiring. Join our Field Ops Team in Afghanistan
Spirit of America Field Operations
Position: Field Representative (Afghanistan & Latin America)
Spirit of America seeks an exceptional individual with a US military service background (E-5 or higher) to serve as a Field Representative in Afghanistan and with a follow-on assignment in Latin America. The Field Rep will work in close cooperation and coordination with US military personnel and US government civilians. The Field Rep will be responsible for providing rapid humanitarian aid and development assistance for needs identified at local levels.
This is an opportunity to see immediate results from one's work and to directly impact progress in Afghanistan and in Latin America. The Field Rep will improve the safety and success of our troops and diplomats and the well being of local populations. The Spirit of America Field Rep must have tactical-level combat experience in Iraq and/or Afghanistan combined with optimism, patience, and a great sense of humor in the face of adversity. Spanish language skills are required.
The Field Rep will support US Army and Special Operations units deployed to Afghanistan. The assignment includes 4 weeks training at the Spirit of America office in Los Angeles, followed by approximately 4-5 months in Afghanistan. Upon completion of the assignment to Afghanistan, the Field Rep will return to the Los Angeles office where he/she will manage Spirit of America programs and projects in support of US military and civilian personnel deployed to the SOUTHCOM AOR.
Giving Thanks and Thanksgiving
On this holiday, we give thanks for the troops and diplomats serving our country in dangerous places around the world, as well as for Spirit of America's field representatives working by their side in Afghanistan, Mike Harte and Chris Clary. While we sit down in the comfort of our homes with loved ones to enjoy turkey and all the fixings, these brave men and women are doing challenging, important work in the mountains of Afghanistan, the deserts of Africa, the jungles of South America, and other far-flung corners of the world.
US troops being served their Thanksgiving meal in Afghanistan (courtesy of DVIDS)
SoA and US Army Cultural Support Team Combat Maternal Mortality
Afghanistan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates on the planet. Each year, thousands of young mothers die during childbirth in unmonitored, unsanitary conditions caused generally by poor health education and the realities of poverty in a war-torn country. Not unlike the campaign to eradicate polio in the region, international efforts to curb birth-related deaths can quickly become politically charged and strain local relationships. The US military has employed female-led teams in order to overcome some of the cultural obstacles to progressive discussions between western and Afghan communities. Called Cultural Support Teams (CSTs), Female Engagement Teams (FETs), and Cultural Engagement Units (CEUs) in their respective branches, these small units of women soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen are an integral part of the counter-insurgency and development mission in Afghanistan, interacting with a section of the population that has been generally off limits to male ISAF personnel.
SoA, US Soldiers Help Afghans Secure Zabul Provincial Center
I was recently contacted by soldiers with the Civil Affairs section of Combined Task Force Duke in Qalat, Zabul Province. Civil Affairs elements like this one work very closely with Afghan officials, providing assistance and guidance as local governments assume more responsibilities within their province. More efficient administration in areas such as voter registration, civil dispute resolution, and economic development programs has led to a marked increase in civilian traffic to Provincial Centers. It is imperative that this trend continues, and adequate security at government centers helps encourage Afghan citizens to continue to engage with their local officials and benefit from administrative services.
Zabul Provincial Governor Ashraf Naseri and his security team
Afghanistan, We Meet Again
I arrived safely in Kandahar a few days ago. When I landed it was a warm day with clear skies. As I walked into the small terminal on the military base, I remembered the last time I had walked through those exact doors, almost two years before. Not much had changed; still the same brick and mortar walls with educational posters and signs instructing visitors not to drink the water and what to do if the base took rockets. They made me smile because I'm strangely comfortable here.
Chris learning the Bgan satellite system before leaving for Afghanistan
SoA Supports Schools in Western Kandahar
After the fall of the Taliban, the new government in Afghanistan inherited the monumental task of rebuilding the nation's infrastructure. With over 40% of the population under the age of 14, the development of a modern and comprehensive education system remains one of the most critical objectives in any successful reconstruction strategy in Afghanistan. The nation's Ministry of Education has made remarkable advancements over the years, building thousands of new schools to accommodate the dramatic rise in enrollment. The Ministry of Education reported over 10 million students were enrolled across the country in 2012.
A Spirit of America Veteran and His Story on NPR
This Veterans Day, as we reflect on the sacrifices of our men and women who have served and those serving now, take a moment to listen to Spirit of America’s Chris Clary as he talks with National Public Radio’s Rachel Martin on Weekend Edition Sunday. Listen to the NPR story here and please share the link via social media.
Chris, an Oklahoma native, is an Army veteran who deployed twice to Afghanistan before joining Spirit of America. He departed on Saturday – before this interview even aired – for another seven months in Afghanistan working for SoA.
Days to Remember
This Sunday, Marines across the globe will gather to celebrate the birthday of their beloved Corps. When the First Continental Congress resolved to form two battalions of Marines on November 10th, 1775, newly appointed Captain Samuel Nichols went straight to Tun Tavern in Philadelphia to look for rough men willing to fight for a country that didn't yet exist. He found them, and for the next 238 years young Marines would carry on a tradition of unrivaled fighting spirit, standing proud as a force in readiness for the protection of the citizens of the United States of America.
Marine vet and SoA field rep Mike Harte working with one of his former comrades in arms