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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Abel, information assurance representative for Company C, 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, pauses for a photo while scanning the network at Camp Taji, Iraq. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher Penn
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. James Abel
Army Leads Sergeant to Computer Career
By Spc. Christopher Penn
615th Aviation Support Battalion
CAMP TAJI, Iraq, Sept. 21, 2007 — Most soldiers who need computer access while in theater are aware of the numerous rules regulating its use. Many soldiers, however, may not know who enforces those rules at the lowest level.

Behind the scenes is Staff Sgt. James Abel, a quiet professional who is dedicated to the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, network operations mission.

Assigned to Company C “Rough Riders,” 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division, he is one of the brigade’s leading information assurance representatives.

Abel, a native of Kelso, Wash. – home of the Kelso High School “Highlanders”, became interested in computers while stationed at Fort Irwin, Calif. By self-educating troubleshooting programs and using the Internet as a source of knowledge, he planned his dream for a long-term military career as well as a better life for his wife, Katrina, and 12-year-old daughter, Sharissa.

Once he retires after 20 years of service, he and his wife plan to open a consulting business, which will include creating websites and providing network management, he said.

While deployed to Iraq, this Rough Rider has had to handle varying problems that include the storage of improper material on government computers.

“Hours of making sure user profiles have proper restrictions, yet enough freedom to complete their daily tasks, makes our network safe and more efficient for all users,” said Abel.

“His attention to detail and willingness to research an issue to exhaustion is a definite asset to 1st ACB (net operations),” said Brownsville, Texas, native Staff Sgt. Claudia Twiss, the non-commissioned officer in charge of network operations.

Anyone’s eyes can get tired after a long period of staring at a computer screen, but Abel said he finds relief in spending time at the gym to maintain his physical training goals.

Abel’s Microsoft Excel database skills helped the section implement a new work order tracking system with which other units under 1st Air Cavalry Brigade can submit issues concerning their network, he said.

The system changed the way business was conducted by giving users the power to access the database to track and auto-update work orders, ensuring maximum accountability until the order is complete, said Abel.

With years of technical and tactical proficiency under his belt, this motivated non-commissioned officer was recognized in August by Col. Dan Shanahan, commander of the brigade, during a luncheon.

“I serve to better my country and my family,” said Abel.

Last Updated:
09/21/2007, Eastern Daylight Time
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