CJTF-HOA Soldier Committed to Selfless Service
U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Cronin, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, Bravo Company infantryman and communications specialist, is currently deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. Cronin was forward deployed to Juba, South Sudan, with the East Africa Response Force (EARF) in support of the U.S. Embassy’s evacuation in December 2013. At the request of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Defense Department directed two C-130 aircraft to move personnel from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to Nairobi, Kenya. DOD also augmented physical security at American diplomatic facilities in Juba with members of the EARF, a Djibouti-based, joint team assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.At the request of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Defense Department directed two C-130 aircraft to move personnel from Juba, the capital of South Sudan, to Nairobi, Kenya. DOD also augmented physical security at American diplomatic facilities in Juba with members of the EARF, a Djibouti-based, joint team assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
The Soldier’s Creed is the foundation for how U.S. Army Soldiers live their lives, committing themselves to selfless service, honor, loyalty, duty, integrity, and personal courage.
U.S. Army Sgt. Christopher Cronin, a 1-18th Infantry Battalion, Bravo Company infantryman and communications specialist, exemplified what a Soldier should be while carrying out duties at the U.S. Embassy-South Sudan, as part of the forward deployment with the East Africa Response Force.
“I received a knock on my door and was told to pack for three to four days (for a support mission in Juba),” he said. “So I packed a couple socks and shirts and minimum hygiene products.”
Little did Cronin and his fellow Soldiers know, that their three to four days in Juba would turn into more than 40 days.
“Our first priority the moment we landed was to evacuate the citizens and provide security,” he said. “My other priorities were to make sure all of our communications were working and ready for use, make contacts with the embassy, and finding out any information I could that would help us in the long run.”
With minimum supplies and alternate communications methods between the different departments, Cronin, a specialist at the time, needed to adapt to ensure communications were made.
“I had to get the different departments on the same communications as us, because we needed to talk to each other and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) frequently,” he explained.
Cronin also didn’t expect all the additional responsibilities he would take on, but was ready to step up to the challenge.
“When we first got to Juba we didn’t know how long we’d be there, so we were limited on MREs (meals ready to eat),” he said. “There were times our guys would need to stretch the MREs until the resupply of food and other necessary supplies came in.”
In the meantime Cronin cooked meals for about 45 of his fellow Soldiers, ensuring they’d receive at least one hot meal a day.
“I would do what I could to make sure my guys had at least one hot meal a day until the resupply came in,” he added.
Cronin worked endlessly during his time in Juba to ensure communications were always on point and his fellow Soldiers were taken care of.
His leadership never doubted what Cronin was capable of and knew they could depend on him as a valuable asset.
“Sergeant Cronin is known for his attention to detail, adaptability and mission accomplishment,” said U.S. Army Capt. John Young, 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment, Bravo Company commander. “He is very good at completing multiple requirements at the same time.”
After Cronin’s 40 plus days in Juba, he returned back to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.
Where as part of CJTF-HOA he and his fellow 1-18th IN BN teammates focus on military-to-military engagements with partner nations as well as supporting CJTF-HOA’s mission of stabilizing and strengthening security in the region.
Cronin’s primary duty is handling maintenance for the communications security equipment. He also holds himself accountable for staying on top of his radio telephone operator skills and basic infantry tasks.
“I don’t expect anyone to remember me or what I did,” Cronin said about his job in Juba. “It’s my job … and whatever is asked of me, I’ll complete it to the best of my abilities.”
Cronin’s hard work did not go unnoticed, for the work he did was well above what is expected of a specialist. His leadership acknowledged him and his work by making sure he received his well deserved next rank.
“Sgt. Cronin is very knowledgeable in many different areas, which allows him to improve the team in areas that other Sergeants are not able to,” said Young.