NEWS | Aug. 27, 2018

For Two Kentucky National Guardsmen, Service is the Family Business

By Capt. Melanie Nelson U.S. Army Central

Soldiers in the National Guard and Army Reserve bring unique capabilities from their civilian occupations when they deploy. At Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, a couple brothers with the Kentucky Army National Guard are able to tap into their professional occupation as engineers while serving Area Support Group-Kuwait Directorate of Public Works (DPW).

The Parker brothers are members of the 613th Engineering Facilities Detachment headquartered in Springfield, Kentucky. While deployed the two are tapping into their civilian engineering backgrounds to make contracts a little tighter, and things a little better for service members in Kuwait.

“Due to operational requirements, Area Support Group- Kuwait relies on the National Guard and Reserve components to complete its mission,” said U.S. 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,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bryan Parker, DPW’s projects noncommissioned officer in charge.

His brother U.S. Army Capt. William Parker is the project officer for DPW. The brothers both serve as contract officer representatives, the on-sight adviser to government contractors.

“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,” said Bryan Parker. “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.

In an office down the hall is the elder of the two brothers. “My electrical engineering comes very handy being the diesel generator contracting officer representative,” said William Parker.

“I am also a project manager," said William Parker. "Because of that, 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,” said Bryan Parker. “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 Reserves is one of the primary reasons I wanted to work there.”

“Serving in the military is definitely a family business with our family,” said Bryan Parker. “Our father, William Parker Sr. recently retired from the Kentucky Army National Guard as a Chief Warrant Officer 3 with over 30 years of service.”

Additionally, their brother, Bryan’s twin, is also a Staff Sergeant in the Kentucky Army National Guard. Also, Bryan’s wife is a First Sergeant in the Army Reserve.

All 15 Soldiers deployed with the 613th Engineering Facilities Detachment headquartered in Springfield, Kentucky, are serving in roles for Area Support Group-Kuwait Directorate of Public Works.