FORWARD OPERATING BASE NOLAY, Afghanistan -- The smell of bacon and eggs joined with the scent of burning pinewood and cardboard fills the air. A fire, surrounded by a dining tent and military barriers, crackles and glows on the predawn January day. Servicemembers at Forward Operating Base Nolay, Afghanistan, are still asleep, apart from those providing security, monitoring communication machinery, a cook and the fire-starter.
Sgt. Eddie Glowacki, a generator mechanic with Security Force Assistance Advisor Team 2-215, wakes up early every morning with two things in mind: to build morale and to get as much done as possible for the day.
His first self-appointed task is to make a fire for the Marines, sailors and translators to boost their morale and keep them warm as they wait for their morning meal. As soon as the fire is roaring, he turns to help the cook make breakfast.
“He helps me in the morning, every morning,” said Cpl. Daniel Russo, a food service specialist with SFAAT 2-215. “I think it’s his personality, the way he was raised. He does anything for anyone.”
“Many hands make light work, so we help each other to get things done quicker,” said Glowacki, a husband and father of three from Great Valley, NY.
As soon as everyone aboard FOB Nolay has had their morning chow, Glowacki helps clean up and stock the food storage unit. Russo, having had his day made easier by Glowacki’s assistance, spends the rest of the morning returning the favor by helping Glowacki complete his tasks.
Glowacki’s responsibility is to keep the generators running. The generators power everything from communication towers and heaters to computers and anything else that can plug into an outlet.
“He’s a jack-of-all-trades,” said Gunnery Sgt. John Greene, the utilities chief for General Support Unit SFAAT 2-215. “He can fix about anything. If you could give one person on the team the MVP (award), he would be the one to get it.”
Three of the five FOB Nolay generators provide power to three separate towers, which sit outside of the FOB in the Afghan National Army section of the base. As Glowacki walks to the towers to check their fuel levels, he makes eye contact with every ANA soldier he sees, waves and gives the greeting “salaam alaikum,” meaning “peace to you.”
He speaks to the soldiers he knows; all greet him with a smile and a handshake.
“I think it’s important they see the real person who’s there to do the mission,” he said. “They can tell right away the people who are being fake. I’m as real as I can be with all of them.”
“He works well with the Afghans,” said Greene, who sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night to help Glowacki if a generator is down. “They all love him.”
Once the FOB’s five generators are checked and serviced, Glowacki and Russo grab chow and meet up with Greene to work out in the gym. The three Marines help push and drive each other to be better physically and be the best Marines they can be.
After cleaning up, Russo and Glowacki end their busy day making dinner for the people on the FOB.
Glowacki is considered by many on FOB Nolay to be the go-getter of the unit. He spends his time helping other people with their jobs and making sure everything on base is running smoothly.
Glowacki received the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal for his efforts, Jan. 29.
“Everybody holds him in high regard,” said Greene. “He’s got the respect of everybody on the team.”
“His work out here epitomizes what we want to see in a Marine NCO,” said Col. Christopher Douglas, the team leader for SFAAT 2-215, who pinned Glowacki with the award. “He is the fighter-leader, he leads by example and demonstrates initiative. His actions, not his words, demonstrate what ‘right’ looks like. It really is an honor and a pleasure to serve with him.”