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NEWS | May 29, 2024

Generations of service: U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Stachura's journey to Ghana

By Philip Regina U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa

In the heart of Africa, under the sprawling skies of Ghana, U.S. Army Maj. Jennifer Stachura is weaving a legacy of service, compassion and leadership, inspired by stories from her past and dedicated to making a difference in the present.

Stachura’s journey begins with her grandfather, U.S. Army Technical Sgt. Saul J. Joseph, a highly decorated Assyrian-American Soldier who stormed Omaha Beach and fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II, earning a Silver Star for his service.

His valor and resilience left an indelible mark on Stachura, especially the tales he shared about his service and the U.S. Army nurses who tended to him and his comrades on the battlefield. These stories not only highlighted the critical role of military nurses but also inspired Stachura to follow a similar path of service and care.

"The accounts of my grandfather's bravery and the compassionate care he received from Army nurses profoundly influenced my decision to join the U.S. Army and become a registered nurse," recalled Stachura, civil affairs team leader, 437th Civil Affairs Battalion, 354th Civil Affairs Brigade, 352nd Civil Affairs Command. "His legacy drives me to serve with the same dedication and empathy. He is my hero, and I am blessed to be his granddaughter. Every step I've taken in life has been done in tribute to him."

Today, as a registered nurse and Army Reserve civil affairs team leader, Stachura is living out her grandfather's legacy while forging her own. Currently deployed in Ghana with the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) Civil Affairs Battalion, she leads initiatives that provide essential healthcare services to underserved communities.

During her nine-month deployment, Stachura has been instrumental in several key initiatives aimed at improving public health and fostering strong partnerships with local communities.

One such initiative was a medical civic action program (MEDCAP) in Sunson, Ghana. This program successfully dewormed approximately 700 children and offered healthcare services to 500 community members, addressing prevalent conditions such as hypertension, malaria and anemia.

Stachura's dual role as a registered nurse and a part-time Army Reserve Soldier allows her to leverage her civilian expertise as a registered nurse in her military missions. "What I really value about reserve civil affairs is the opportunity to bring together military training and civilian expertise to make a difference in communities," she explained.

In addition to the MEDCAP in Sunson, Stachura led multiple civil affairs academics with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), assisting them in improving their own civil affairs capacity. One notable effort was a two-day MEDCAP in Damongo, where the team provided essential medical services and health education to the local population.

"It was humbling to see the local community’s enormous response to the medical services," said U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Erinayo Soniregun, civil affairs officer, 4th Civil Affairs Group, Force Headquarters Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve.

Soniregun reflected on the strong turnout and engagement from Damongo's residents.

"The local population’s overwhelming welcome was inspiring," he added. "It exemplifies the far-reaching effects of humanitarian work."

Looking ahead, SETAF-AF civil affairs is committed to expanding its support with plans to further initiate a civil affairs branch within the Ghana Armed Forces.

"Our goal is to enhance the GAFs’ ability to engage with and support local communities in various civil matters such as infrastructure development, disaster response and community relations. This branch could serve as a liaison between the military and civilian populations, facilitating collaboration, promoting stability, as well as addressing the needs of communities to foster positive relationships and enhance overall security," Stachura added.

Stachura's journey illustrates the U.S. Army's promise of providing opportunities to explore one's passions and build a supportive community. The Army enabled her to serve a greater purpose both at home and abroad, merging her skills as a nurse with her dedication to humanitarian efforts.

"Joining the U.S. Army means being part of a team that is dedicated to serving the nation and making a difference in the world," Stachura emphasized. "The Army offers countless opportunities to grow, learn and become the best version of yourself."