Being one of the few overseas districts in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can often present unique challenges. It can also demonstrate of the importance of taking care of people while they work to accomplish critical missions in a challenging environment. When USACE’s Europe District (NAU) recently experienced a surge in requiring new passports for their workforce and family members, they reached out to the Middle East District for their expertise.
In May of 2021, standard blue U.S. passports were no longer accepted for official travel, requiring all personnel and their family members to need official passports. With the uptick in official passport requests, it became harder for family members assigned to NAU to receive timely services. Fortunately, there was a solution available from the Transatlantic Middle East District (TAM) which has its own passport agent in house.
Cheryl Young, who works in the TAM Logistics office, is certified by the U.S. State Department to handle and process passports. This requires annual training and inspection, and involves handling sensitive documents including birth certificates, ID cards and the passports themselves. NAU was able to bring Cheryl over to Germany to help clear the backlog.
“I was really glad to get this opportunity,” said Young. “Beyond the chance to travel to Germany, it was really fulfilling to be able to take care of our team and their families. Many of them would have had to travel to get to a passport site and sometimes wait for hours with their children. We were able to make appointments and do this at their convenience.”
During her time in Germany, Young processed over 100 passports.
“With people continually rotating in and out and temporary duty assignments around Europe, her efforts were critical in supporting us,” said Carlos Reyes, the lead logistics management specialist with the Europe District. “She processed over 100 mandatory Official Travel Special Issuance Passports for military, DoD civilians and family members and her support ensured we’ll be able to meet the newly enforced DoD Policy, which supports our critical workforce onboarding, rotation requirements and Temporary Duty mission across the European area of operations.”
Young for her part appreciated having her efforts recognized (and the chance to go to Germany) but credited both NAU and her TAM teammates for making her mission successful.
“I’m really thankful to the NAU logistics team that supported me during my stay. They scheduled all the appointments and accommodated me with my own space to help me make this happen. And one of my teammates in the administrative personnel processing office (APPO), John Patrick, helped me out daily by monitoring the FedEx packages that contained passports, notifying travelers, and mailing them out. He’s not even a logistics employee but made sure I wouldn’t return to a backlog and I appreciate his dedication to the mission,” said Young.