Face of Defense: Soldier Helps Comrades Stay Net-connected

FORWARD OPERATING BASE ANDAR, Afghanistan — Army Spc. Luis Tor­res uses his com­mu­ni­ca­tions know-how to keep his com­rades con­nect­ed to the out­side world from this mil­i­tary base in Ghazni province.

“Every­body will say that lodg­ing, chow and mail are the most-impor­tant things about deploy­ment, but if you don’t have Inter­net they’re upset about it,” said Tor­res, a satel­lite com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems oper­a­tor from San Anto­nio.

Tor­res has been in the Army about three years and he’s on his first deploy­ment. A mem­ber of 1st Pla­toon, Com­pa­ny C, Spe­cial Troops Bat­tal­ion, 3rd Brigade Com­bat Team, 1st Infantry Divi­sion, Task Force Duke, he said he joined the Army for the same rea­sons as many oth­ers.

Enlist­ing in his late 30s, he said, has pro­vid­ed addi­tion­al moti­va­tion.

“I joined the Army because I want­ed to serve my coun­try,” he said, “and because I knew that I could main­tain the stan­dard as well as younger sol­diers.”

His supe­ri­ors agree.

“He’s an out­stand­ing sol­dier. Tor­res is one of those sol­diers who are going to do a job until it’s done,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Ebony Like­ly, a com­mu­ni­ca­tions super­vi­sor who hails from Rochester, N.Y.

“I’m look­ing to make the Army a career,” said Tor­res, who has been mar­ried for 16 years and has six chil­dren.

Pro­fi­cien­cy in com­mu­ni­ca­tions isn’t Tor­res’ only skill. A jack-of-all-trades in car­pen­try and main­te­nance, he’s fre­quent­ly tasked by his mil­i­tary lead­ers to build and fix things around the base.

“Give him a task to do and before you even get a chance to fol­low-up, it’s already done,” said Army Staff Sgt. Christo­pher Renau, a native of Lynch­burg, Va.

Tor­res said he’s rebuilt bench­es in the Morale, Wel­fare and Recre­ation cen­ter and now is build­ing a new satel­lite dish plat­form that will increase the num­ber of Inter­net sta­tions avail­able to sol­diers.

Tor­res has some advice for younger sol­diers on how to deal with the day-to-day rou­tine of a long deploy­ment.

“Take each day as it comes and be aware of your sur­round­ings,” Tor­res said. “Con­stant­ly stay busy — look for ways to improve your sur­round­ings � and your­self.”

In his spare time Tor­res said he likes to read hor­ror sto­ries, get togeth­er with friends to play domi­nos and card games, and watch movies.

Tor­res said his fam­i­ly is always on his mind, not­ing “see­ing my wife and kids” and “a good home-cooked meal” are two things he miss­es the most dur­ing his deploy­ment.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)