Siamak “Mak” Araghi knows it is very important to have little pieces of home when you are far away. He’s currently deployed to Afghanistan where he spends his days working in resource management. He is the only civilian working in his section with three military personnel. He is one of the few U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel embedded with NATO Special Operations Component Command- Afghanistan.
Araghi works 12-14 hour days, seven days a week. His usual day starts by going to the dining facility at 6 a.m. for a light breakfast before calling home to his family and parents as they get ready for bed. He then walks to his office, located next to the DFAC, which Araghi considers a curse; especially on “Pizza Fridays” when he occasionally he eats one slice too many.
If you were to go to Araghi’s living quarters, you will find accommodations similar to a hotel room. But it’s the little things that remind him of home that are important. Like most deployees, Araghi has a few family photos spread around. He also has a bottle opener that his son made, as well as a special comb that he cherishes that his daughters sent him as a joke. On his wall he has a Charleston District poster that was signed by his coworkers to remind him of the place he left and will return to before he knows it.
The District’s Family Readiness Network ensures that Araghi maintains the connection to Charleston that he enjoys. He especially likes the thoughtful emails that he receives from the District’s FRN, the District Commander and the folks from RM.
“These efforts really make the deployment worthwhile and boost my morale,” says Araghi. “Many people who are deployed do not receive any correspondence at all. I’m particularly proud of the special effort that the Charleston District makes to support our deployed.”
As a means of trying to provide entertainment away from home, the base has a small Morale, Welfare and Recreation building with several pool tables and a TV. A small convenience store and barber are also located next to the MWR building. The base also has a gym that stays open 24/7, offering a great place to go for a workout or just take a walk on the treadmill to work off that pizza.
“Overall, it is a very small community and after a while you get to know everyone, just like in Charleston,” says Araghi. “With all of the little pieces of home that I have with me while deployed, it feels like Charleston is so far away, but yet so close!”