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HavanaJournal.com: Cuban Americans

Born with a sense of patriotism - A Cuban American in the US Army Reserve

Posted July 07, 2008 by publisher in Cuban Americans.
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MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ
PRESS DESK
BAGHDAD, Iraq
http://www.mnf-iraq.com
703.343.8790

Press Release A080620
June 30, 2008


By AF Capt. Anthony L. Bucci, Task Force 134/PAO

CAMP CROPPER, Iraq – “As a Cuban-American I was born with a strong sense of patriotism. I was one of those guys who always wanted to join the military even as a kid,” said Lt. Col. Enrique M. Guerra who is the 744th Battalion commander as well as the Theater Interment Facility Commander of Remembrance II at Camp Cropper, Iraq.

Guerra has more than 22 years of service split between the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve. He is currently a Reservist with the 744th Military Police Battalion out of Bethlehem, Pa. He has served as the commander of the 744th MP Battalion since August 2007.

“I have my 20-year letter—eligibility for retirement from the Army Reserve—but I still enjoy what I do. I get great satisfaction from working with all the fine soldiers who I have had the pleasure to know,” said Guerra.

Lt. Col. Guerra was born in Camaguey, Cuba and immigrated with his parents to Miami in 1966 when he was only seven-months old; he now lives in Mansfield Township, N.J.  He attended Rutgers University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science while at Rutgers University he earned his ROTC commission through a cooperative agreement from Seton Hall University, N.J. He subsequently received a Master of Science in Management from Thomas Edison University, in New Jersey “The biggest challenge I have faced here is the vast geographical layout of this location,” said Guerra. “At Camp Bucca they deal with a larger number of detainees. Here at Camp Cropper there a lot more moves on a daily basis, a couple of thousand. The complexity of managing all of these moving parts has been the biggest challenge for me”.


Lt. Col. Enrique M. Guerra the 744th Battalion Commander as well as the Theater Interment Facility Commander of Remembrance II at Camp Cropper, Iraq. Department of Defense photo by Specialist Brandon Hubbard. 

Fortunately Guerra was able to draw from his civilian experience for the task of managing this geographically separated camp. He has worked for Kraft Foods Global for more than 19 years and currently is a product change development manager in East Hanover, N.J. He cited specifically the five years he spent working within the procurement department as providing the benchmark for his knowledge of operations and maintenance.

“I gained valuable experience in understanding the maintenance schedule, such as time required for a specific project to include the materials and equipment necessary for the task,” said Guerra. “While at the same time interpreting what impact that would have on the day-to-day operations”.

Guerra also cites his experience within the 11th MP Brigade while serving as the Brigade S3—Operations—section for preparing him for this latest assignment. “While I was there I dealt with in-processing detainees, configuring the layout of the facilities, managing the operations in a complex environment and tracking all of that data,” he said.
The biggest difference he has seen here at Camp Cropper vice other operations of the same mission is the juveniles. “In the U.S., the juveniles would be detained in a completely separate location. Here we have them housed on the same installation albeit in segregated locations,” said Guerra.

Guerra a Cuban-American and a reservist from New Jersey is more than up to the challenge of overseeing this very diverse mission. “I know it sounds strange to some, but for me it has always been about patriotism. That is why I serve and will continue to do so as long as I still enjoy it,” said Guerra. In a word, it is all about Patriotism.
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Member Comments

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On October 18, 2008, Margarita wrote:

To the Havana Journal and its readers:

Many people read the article “Born with a sense of Patriotism”, about Lt. Col. Enrique M. Guerra who is the 744th Battalion commander, US Army. A Cuban American from New Jersey. The President of the United States and his staff read this article too, and as a result, Lt. Col. Guerra was invited by the President for a dinner at the White House on October 9, 2008. His wife Karen, who works with me gave the good news. Karen was able to see her husband after long months of separation and was invited to eat with the President as well to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage month.
Lt. Col. Guerra is back in Iraq, serving his country and making his fellow Americans proud and the Cuban Americans prouder, because as we all know, when it comes to our military, it is not about politics, is about service.
I am the mother of a United States Marine who served in Iraq, and the author of Solita and the Purple Moon, a bilingual children’s book specially dedicated to the children of our men and women in uniform.
God Bless America!
Miriam Isabel Elliott (a Cuban American)