By Narissia Skinner
The Charleston District boasts about our civilian workforce being a family. We don’t just talk about it, we live it. Michael Glasch can attest to this truth. Glasch is currently deployed in Afghanistan as the Public Affairs Officer for the USACE Transatlantic Afghanistan District and recently came home on a break. Glasch is from the Columbia area and works at Fort Jackson when he is not deployed, but not for USACE. During his brief break, he and his wife Elizabeth made it a point to travel to Charleston to meet the Family Readiness Coordinator from the District that supports him on a continuous basis even though they have never met him.
“Several agencies speak of their civilian workforce being a family,” said Glasch. “The Corps actually lives it.”
Michael is no rookie when it comes to deployment. He has deployed two other times, once as a soldier during the Gulf War and once as a civilian to Afghanistan for six months as a public affairs officer for the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan. The support he received during this deployment has proven to be quite different than deployments in the past.
“The biggest benefit of having family readiness support is the peace of mind that it brings,” said Glasch. “Knowing that someone is here for Elizabeth is one less thing that I have to worry about. You can’t put a price tag on that.”
While deployed, Glasch gets to visit unique projects such as Kajaki Dam, in the Southern Helmand Province. Until his trip there in March, no U.S. personnel had been allowed access to the site, due to security concerns. Special permission had to be given from the US Ambassador to be able to go to the work site. The dam controls irrigation for the farmers downstream. By controlling irrigation, farmers can rely on their own crops and not rely on that of the Taliban. Glasch’s role as the Public Affairs Officer allows him to make sure that the work of the employees does not go unnoticed.
“I make sure to showcase the quality of their work, the sacrifices they are making and the dedication that they have to the mission as they work to build a more secure and safe environment for Afghanistan and the world,” said Glasch.
Glasch feels that the sacrifice that he makes is nothing compared to that of his wife Elizabeth. She looks forward to Sundays when they can talk. It is by far the best part of her week.
“It is not easy,” said Elizabeth. “Michael is my best friend and my rock, and without him being at home, I have to step it up a notch. I have to do what I have to do.”
Elizabeth is extremely proud of her husband because he is doing what he loves to do. He is an inspiration to her and she has so much respect for the work that he does and his love of the job. Both Glasch and his wife are thankful and grateful for everything the Charleston District has done.
It is one thing to support someone you know and work with every day, but it takes a special group of people to support someone that they have never met. That goes back to the Corps not just talking about being a family, but actually caring for all those deployed.
overseas contingency operations