WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --
As a young child in his home country of Senegal in West Africa, Boubacar Konate never dreamt he would one day serve in the U.S. military.
Everything changed when he immigrated to the United States in November 2001 and settled with his mother in Cincinnati, Ohio. His step-father, a former Air Force security forces member, was a key influence in encouraging Konate to enlist in 2003.
Staff Sgt. Konate, a 445th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply technician, spent four years on active duty at Seymour Johnson and Pope Air Force Bases in North Carolina. Upon completion of his active-duty commitment and with the acquisition of a master’s degree in logistics and transportation, he began a civil service career at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, the largest military base in the world.
In his civilian job, Staff Sgt. Konate teaches the French language and African culture to joint-service Special Forces and civil affairs liaisons.
Department of Defense employees and contractors are essential for training service members with upcoming travel to countries where travelers do not speak the language or understand the customs.
Konate emphasizes the need for relationship building in foreign countries. “The job is essential to national security because it helps people learn to operate in a culturally respectable way,” said Konate “You have to gain the souls and minds of those you are dealing with. This is key to successful cross-cultural exchanges.”
The staff sergeant has personal experience adapting to new cultures and has used his experience to help others in a variety of ways.
Konate recalls a deployment to Kuwait in which he was tasked to manage third country national workers. He was able to provide support to and relate with third country national workers from Egypt, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Iran. Konate was uniquely qualified to understand the needs of these workers, often separated from their families. “I understood the sacrifices they were making for their families as the son of an immigrant mother who was willing to relocate to create a better life for her children,” said Konate.
The Air Force has also provided numerous logistics training experiences for Konate. In a 2010 tour to Panama, he supplemented a Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineer (RED HORSE) team to construct living quarters for a future school and medical center in Panama. The trip was a reminder of the Air Force’s commitment to global relationship building and reinforced the need for checks and balances in logistics.
Konate works hard to support his family. He is married, a father of five, and operates three additional businesses: an income tax preparation service, a home cleaning and remodeling service, and a car repair garage. He credits the Air Force with teaching him how to run a business and manage people. Using an approach similar to an operational squadron, he oversees managers of his three businesses and entrusts them to manage day to day operations with the employees entrusted to them.
Sergeant Konate has been serving faithfully in the 445th Air Wing for two years. He believes the key to logistics readiness supply shop success stems from being customer oriented and anticipating Airmen’s needs by making equipment readily available.