KENILWORTH, NJ - Officer Brendan Carlos recently returned from an extended deployment serving as a member of the New Jersey National Guard completing two tours abroad. In support of Operation Enduring Freedom for eighteen months Carlos, a Staff Sergeant, was posted in the Kingdom of Bahrain located in the Middle East, and Djibouti, Africa. Carlos sat down with TAPinto Kenilworth to speak about his life and experience in the armed forces.

Please tell me about your background

I graduated Governor Livingston High School in 2009. After graduation, I attended Union County College for a couple of years. However, the economy was in rough shape, I wasn’t thrilled with the formal education process and I wasn’t exactly sure what career path I wanted to go down. By the fall of 2011 I had weighed my options and decided to take some time off from college and enter the New Jersey Army National Guard.

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I enlisted on January 12, 2012, out of Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, New York. The primary military occupational specialty or MOS I selected was 11C indirect fire infantryman otherwise known as a mortarman and my secondary MOS was 11B infantryman. My first assignment was with Alpha Company 2nd 113th Infantry Regiment based out of Newark, NJ. While in this unit I was part of the soldiers sent down to southern NJ as a response force to Hurricane Sandy. Next, I was deployed to ISA Air Base as an infantry fire team leader with Alpha Company from late 2014 till the summer of 2015. I was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in May 2015, while overseas. Then in 2017 three major things happened in my life. I was promoted number one overall, in the state of New Jersey from Sergeant to Staff Sergeant. I swore into the Union County Sheriff’s Office and I married my beautiful wife Jessika. By 2018 I was still newly married and currently attending the John H Stamler Police Academy as a Sheriff’s Office recruit, when I found out I was deploying for a second time. However, not only was I deploying again, but I was being activated shortly after finishing the police academy. This time I was deploying as an Infantry Squad Leader overseeing two sergeants who in turn were both responsible for three soldiers of their own. We were deployed from February 2019 until December 2019.

How did you end up in Kenilworth?

Jessika, my wife and I purchased a home in Kenilworth for a few reasons. She was born and raised here, plus most of her family still lives in town as well. Second, we both agreed this was a place we wanted to one day raise a family.  

Tell me about your job and what a typical day is like.

I am still part of the New Jersey Army National Guard, but my full-time employer is the Union County Sheriff’s Office. My current assignment is complex security. At this post I am responsible for making sure citizens do not bring prohibited items into county facilities, ensuring the overall security of all occupants.

A typical day for me starts at 06:00 AM when my wife and I get up for work. I like to wake up early because I absolutely despise being late for anything. I work from 08:00 AM to 04:00 PM and then head over to the gym for an hour or two every day except Saturday and Sunday.

What were you doing in Africa?

I was deployed to Africa as part of “Task Force Warrior.” My unit and I were assigned to conduct security operations for Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti Africa. While overseas, I served in two key functions. One was as the “sergeant of the guard,” where I oversaw the daily operations of 5 observation towers and 3 vehicle entry points, totaling in 17 Army personnel and 1 Naval K9 handler. My other duty was to serve as the Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge. Which means I trained soldiers on how to spot drones, report it to their chain of command, engage and recover the enemy or unidentified drone systems.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

Kenilworth is a great community. My wife and I love living here. We enjoy spending time with our neighbors during the annual block party and other events like the fourth of July fireworks. We are very eager to start a family and raise our kids in Kenilworth.