New commander, new challenge, new success

By Maj. Brandon Mace | 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) | June 27, 2018

FORT McCOY, Wis. — Just over two months ago, U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Ali Taher took command of the 242nd Quartermaster Company, headquartered in Conroe, Texas. For the past several days, the unit has been here participating in Combat Support Training Exercise 86-18-04 as a part of their annual training.

CSTX 86-18-04 is an exercise that ensures America’s Army Reserve units and Soldiers are trained and ready to deploy on short-notice bringing capable, combat-ready, and lethal firepower in support of the Army and our joint partners anywhere in the world.

Taher took command of the 242nd on April 6th. For a new commander, an exercise like CSTX 86-18-04 is a perfect time for Soldiers and a new commander to get to know each other.

“The field is where you get to know everybody,” said Taher. “Challenges have arisen, but morale has been really good, everyone has come together. The 242 has shown that when we go through something we do it together.”

When he is not in his Army uniform, Taher wears a different uniform, as a police officer in Houston. He said his military training, both as an enlisted Soldier and as an officer, helped to shape his career on the police force.

“The military came into my life during a difficult time,” said Taher. “Looking back, going through that process of training showed me that although I could be broken down, I can overcome anything. It transitioned me into not wanting any job, but wanting a career where I could better myself.”

He started his military service as an enlisted Soldier where he learned he was not alone in his struggle against life's challenges. Those early lessons pushed him into joining the police force and helped him as a patrol officer in Houston’s challenging 5th Ward.

“The Army showed me I’m not an individual, I’m part of something greater and that has given me solace and transitioned my mentality as a police officer,” said Tehar. “When there is someone falling apart, I can show them that we can figure it out together. You are never going to be alone.”

Now, as an investigation officer and company commander, he sees a tremendous amount of synergy between his two leadership positions and pours his heart into both careers. 

“My heart is behind my badge and I give it as I take care of those I come in contact with,” said Tehar. “As a civil servant and now as a company commander that mindset helps me as I serve. I know something about every Soldier, I want them to know I am here for them.”

At this CSTX, the 242nd’s primary mission has been to provide laundry and shower services to several participating units. While shower services have run without issue, the unit was challenged with providing laundry support. They were only able to bring one laundry advanced system with them, and that piece of equipment went down early on, but that didn’t stop the unit.

“The 242nd overcomes challenges, that's how we do business,” said Taher. “In order for us to still provide laundry service we looked at a neighboring area, got with their company and we were able to provide laundry by collecting here, transporting there, and using their systems.” 

Instead of looking at their LADS going down as a failure the unit views these challenges as training opportunities. Pvt. 1st Class Anick Tiemtore, an automated logistical specialist with the 242nd, said it was a realistic to have a system stop working.

“Its happens sometimes, but it is not a failure,” said Tiemtore. “We are going to make sure we get good training so we can know how to fix things in the future. We have to learn our jobs and be ready for all kinds of situation and that's why we are here to work through it.”

Over his first two months as the 242nd’s commander and years as a Soldier, Taher has seen all sorts of challenges and he says teamwork is always the solution. The Soldiers of the 242nd haven’t disappointed him in their willingness to work together.

“As Soldiers, we have to expect things to go wrong so when they do we know how to handle it,” said Tehar. “We just have to dig into our toolkits for every available means to perform as a company. When the 242nd goes through something, we do it together,” 

As the Soldiers work together every job becomes simpler. An outsider looking in might see the challenges, the weather, and the conditions as a drain on unit morale but the 242nd Soldiers don’t see it that way.

“This is not difficult, it is easy!” said Sgt. Kouadio Nguessan, a 242nd QM CO automated logistical specialist. “Morale is very high because this is what we signed up for. It is training so we are learning.”

Regardless of challenges, Tehar has already seen how the unit comes together and has been impressed at their high level of morale. He said it motivates him and pushes him to want to give more.

“Since April, I’ve had nothing but support from every single Soldier here,” said Taher. “They are proficient and passionate about what they do. It is the way they motivate me and the way they motivate each other. It shows the quality of character of everyone in this company.” 

The 242nd Quartermaster Company is a part of the 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The command is made up of Soldiers, civilians and their families in units headquartered throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. As part of America’s Army Reserve, these units are trained, combat-ready and equipped to provide military and logistical support in any corner of the globe.