Face of Defense: Soldier Sets High Standards for ‘Free Time’
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Nichole Bonham
Special to American Forces Press Service
CAMP LIBERY, Iraq, Jan. 6, 2009 An old Army ad campaign declared, “We do more by 9 a.m. then most people do all day.” A prime example of that striving-for-excellence attitude can be found in Army Sgt. Timmothy Boyd.
Army Sgt. Timmothy Boyd used his free time in Iraq to earn a bachelor’s degree, create a Web site for his unit, help his comrades with their personal computer problems, and create a database to improve work flow. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Shana Henline
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Boyd, a Dallas native who’s serving a tour in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 4th Infantry Division’s Company B, Special Troops Battalion, has developed a reputation for exceeding expectations.
While working in the systems communications section, he used his free time to develop a unit Web site where spouses back home could interact with their deployed soldier. He regularly offers his knowledge of computers on his own time to help friends and co-workers with hardware or software problems they’re having with their personal computers.
Not that Boyd has a lot of free time. In fact, he may have less than most. With the assistance and support of his unit, Boyd recently completed his bachelor’s degree in computer science.
“He promised me if I kept him on night shift that he would complete [his bachelor’s degree], and … I was so proud when he did complete it,” ARMY Staff Sgt. Marlene Noel, Boyd’s supervisor, said.
“It was a lot of work, but instead of watching movies during the free time, you know, you just had to do some homework,” Boyd said of completing his degree. “So it took a little bit of sacrifice, but I was able to get it done.”
He is now working toward his master’s degree in computer science. And the story doesn’t end here.
Boyd’s latest assignment is with the division’s new prosecution task force, which develops arrest warrants for approval by Iraqi judges in accordance with the new U.S.-Iraq security agreement. His job as an intelligence analyst is to comb through intelligence reports all day long looking for evidence to use in putting together a warrant. He helps his partner, a law enforcement professional, develop interview questions for detainees based on the evidence he finds in the reports and puts together the warrant packets that are presented to Iraqi judges.
When Boyd came to the section, he improved procedures for cross-referencing files in current warrants, using his free time and civilian-acquired computer programming skills to create a database to manage all the information the section processes.
“He took a very basic [system] that was there and turned it into what’s essentially become the standard for the other divisions here in Iraq,” Army Maj. Kevin Admiral, chief of the task force, said. “I think he’s definitely set a great example for all noncommissioned officers and soldiers here in Baghdad. He definitely knows how to manage his time.”
Boyd also has worked with Multinational Corps Iraq to help develop the Combined Information Data Network Exchange database for warrants so that the new system maintains some of the same functionality he developed in his own program.
Boyd’s enlistment will end after this deployment, and he said he plans on becoming “Mr. Boyd” and finding a job in the computer science career field. But he doesn’t rule out ever bringing those skills back to the military. “It’s always a possibility,” he said.
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Nichole Bonham serves in the Multinational Division Baghdad public affairs office.)