Saturday, December 5, 2009
Who Fights This War?--The Construction Boss
Staff Sgt. Elisa Long, 27, of Selingsgrove, Pa., builds, repairs, and improves offices, workshops, containers, hangars and other structures wherever the 2-104th General Support Aviation Battalion has soldiers and facilities. Long is the NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge) of special projects for the battalion. Anywhere a pile of lumber is becoming a deck or a new CHU (Containerized Housing Unit) is being fitted with electrical wiring and air conditioning to serve as offices, Long is likely to be there with a hammer, saw and drill.
"Construction is kind of a hobby for me. A few years ago I helped one of my friends renovate a huge old farm house in Beaver Springs," she said. "When I was in junior high, my Mom and I built a deck on our hunting lodge in Potter County."
Long has served for nine years in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, serving first as a wheeled vehicle mechanic. She volunteered to join the 755th Chemical (Nebraska) in 2007 for her first deployment, serving at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. The unit was assigned to convoy operations with Long serving as the wrecker operator on convoy security missions.
In addition to her role in special projects, Long is NCOIC of Nuclear, Biological, Chemical (NBC) Warfare for the battalion. While in Iraq, Long completed four college courses for 12 credit hours toward a bachelor of science degree in biology. She plans to work in a medical field, but has not decided on a specialty yet.