Article - Office of College Advancement

Ohlone trustee being deployed to Afghanistan for a year

By Matthew Artz, Oakland Tribune.

Friday, September 30, 2011—Reprinted from Inside Bay Area.

FREMONT—Ohlone College trustee Garrett Yee once again is being deployed to the Middle East, this time for about a year.

Yee, a colonel in the Army Reserve, will begin his tour in October. He will lead three brigades that install computer networks, satellite communication systems and IT infrastructure at bases in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.

"It's a big challenge," he said. "Some of these are multimillion government contracts with a lot of moving pieces."

It will be Yee's second major deployment since being elected to the Ohlone board in 2002. He missed 19 months in 2005 and 2006 while serving mostly in Iraq.

As was the case last time, the seven-member board doesn't plan to name a temporary replacement.

"We respect his sense of duty and wish him the best of luck," Board President Rich Watters said. Yee's term doesn't expire until 2014.

The military had told Yee early in the summer that he might be deployed.

The official call came Aug. 5, while he was celebrating his 46th birthday while on vacation in Seattle with his family.

"It was emotional," he said. "You just think about how much time you have with your family before you have to go."

Yee, a member of the 335 Signal Command, will work mostly in Afghanistan and travel to U.S. bases in the country, many of which he visited briefly during his last tour.

Yee said his familiarity with the bases -- which often come under attack -- will serve

him well, as will his experience in Iraq where his primary job was to write a training manual for those serving on provincial reconstruction teams.

"That first time was a bit unnerving, but you get through it," he said. "This time around, I'm a little older, a little wiser. I have a better sense of what I'm getting into."

Yee, who has three children, the youngest of whom is a freshman at Ohlone, said the deployment didn't come at a particularly good time, but he's taking it in stride.

"You take care of the stuff you can take care of, and you go forward and do your job," he said. "I expect to come home in one piece."

[ View Articles Index. ]

Related Links at Ohlone College