Since the start of this blog I’ve mentioned my Dad, Steve Turdo, numerous times. My father has worked for the U.S. government for over 36 years in many different positions. He has surrounded himself with the work he loves and with that has grown to expand is knowledge, experiences and even better himself through education. He is a Rowan Alumn, gaining his bachelors in 2006 and is currently working towards his masters.
I’ve always been proud of the work ethic my father possesses and have tried to emulate the same in my own work. For as long as I can remember I’ve always thought my Dad had the coolest job. Whenever I was asked what my dad does for a living I of course was honored to respond with “U.S. Department of Defense”. That honor is now larger than ever, now that my answer has been replaced with “He manages DCMA employees on base in Northern Afghanistan”.
This weekend my dad had a full schedule of traveling, and assessing other bases. He still found the opportunity to answer some questions I had for him via email about his position, experience so far, and expectations. As proud as I am of everything he’s done, I’m even more proud to share it with others.
Name: Stephen Turdo
Birthplace: Philadelphia, PA
Current Location: Bargam Airfield Base, in the Parwan Province, Afghanistan
Q. What is your position?
A. Defense Contract Management Agency Northern Afghanistan Chief of Staff
Q. How long have you been away from home?
A. Since June 29th, 2013. I will return in May 2014.
Q. What do your daily duties consist of?
A. Day to day operations for a command of about 70 people, workload balancing, supervisor and personnel issues for about 30 civilian employees
Q. What has been the biggest transition for you since you’ve been away?
A. Lack of indoor plumbing. And the realization that we are supporting the men and women that are here fighting and protecting our way of life. They are eating and sharing the same confined base with us and what we do is in direct support of their mission.
Q. Does the culture influence you on the base? If so, how?
A. Yes, there are individuals from the militaries of the coalition forces, the local nationals that work on the base, as well as citizens from other countries working for the contractors providing services to the military. They are all interesting and they all have their own reasons for being here. When I arrived, the only people I knew were the people I trained with for the deployment and some of the individuals that I communicated with prior to coming to Afghanistan
Q. Have you formed any kind of relationship with the soldiers on your base?
A. Yes, about half of our staff in Northern Afghanistan is military, and the other two offices are about half military and we deal with them on a daily basis. I talk to the Airmen and Soldiers everyday, part of my responsibilities include working with the soldiers and briefing new employees when they arrive and out-briefing and receiving feedback as they leave. We discuss everyday work activities as well as their job back in the States, their families and where they are from. My boss is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force.
Q. What is the hardest thing been for you since you’ve been there?
A. Not being able to have a diversion from my routine. Although I have traveled to other bases in Northern Afghanistan it would be nice to have a day or two to attend or participate in other activities.
Q. Has your communication differed with your family at home?
A. Somewhat, I am able to communicate almost on a daily basis. Either through the Internet using Wifi or using the voice over IP office phones
Q. What is the first thing you’re looking forward to when you come home?
A. Seeing my family! Being able to go and do what I want, currently we work seven days a week and cannot leave the base. We travel between bases either in airplanes or on helicopters only seeing outside the base from the air.