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U.S. Soldier ensures safety for hungry JFC-UA personnel

 

United States Africa CommandMonrovia, Liberia – Spc. Rysper Sirma, food inspection specialist, 463rd Medical Detachment, Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, was recognized by Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of JFC-UA, for her exemplary performance while supporting Operation United Assistance, December 26th, 2014, at the Barclay Training Center, Monrovia, Liberia.

Each week a service member supporting OUA is formally recognized by Volesky, who awards him or her with a division coin, followed by a helicopter ride with the commander around the joint operations area.

Specialist Rysper Sirma, food inspection specialist, 463rd Medical Detachment (Veterinary Services), Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, is recognized for her exemplary performance while supporting Operation United Assistance by Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of JFC-UA, Dec. 26, 2014, at the Barclay Training Center, Monrovia, Liberia. Each week a service member supporting OUA is formally recognized by Volesky, who awards him or her with a division coin, followed by a helicopter ride with the commander around the joint operations area. Operation United Assistance is a Department of Defense operation in Liberia to provide logistics, training and engineering support to U.S. Agency for International Development-led efforts to contain the Ebola virus outbreak in western Africa. (Staff Sgt. V. Michelle Woods/U.S. Army)

Specialist Rysper Sirma, food inspection specialist, 463rd Medical Detachment (Veterinary Services), Joint Forces Command – United Assistance, is recognized for her exemplary performance while supporting Operation United Assistance by Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of JFC-UA, Dec. 26, 2014, at the Barclay Training Center, Monrovia, Liberia. (Staff Sgt. V. Michelle Woods/U.S. Army)

With a one-hour notice to report to the joint operations center, Sirma said she was surprised and a little nervous to be receiving a coin from Volesky, the first general officer she has met.

Sirma’s commander, Capt. Kristopher Appler, 463rd Med. Det. based out of Fort Benning, Georgia, said Sirma works far beyond the level expected of her rank.

“She has inspected more than $400,000 of operational rations and over 10,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said. “She’s the first line of defense for all food and water.”

Day or night, Sirma is on call due to the time and safety restrictions required for food inspections. All incoming food must be inspected as soon as it arrives via ship or plane.

The coin Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, the Joint Forces Command – United Assistance commander, awards to soldiers for going above and beyond their jobs. (Spc. Rashene Mincy, 55th Signal Company)

The coin Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, the Joint Forces Command – United Assistance commander, awards to soldiers for going above and beyond in their jobs. (Spc. Rashene Mincy, 55th Signal Company)

With less than two years in the military, this is Sirma’s first deployment; however, she says the scenery of Liberia is very familiar to her.

“It may be a culture shock to Soldiers who have never been to Africa, but for me, it’s very similar to where I’m from,” said Sirma, a native of Eldoret, Kenya.

Sirma said she speaks nine African languages and holds a bachelor’s degree from Harding University in Arkansas. Prior to deploying to Liberia, she participated as a member of the Army 10-Miler team in Washington.

After receiving a scholarship to attend Harding University and completing her degree, Sirma said she wanted to join the military to give back to the community for paying for her to attend school in the U.S. She also wanted to become an American citizen and she said serving in the military gave her that opportunity.

Sirma, who is now a U.S. citizen, exemplifies the best in today’s Soldier and upholds her duty to her mission and country, said Appler.

“She is educated, motivated and dedicated to her mission, her brothers and sisters in uniform, and her country,” said Appler.

Sirma said she intends to make the military a career and hopes to eventually transfer from an enlisted Soldier to a commissioned officer.


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