Staff Sergeant Steve Keenan, a member of the 164th Transportation Battalion headquartered in Dorchester, has been deployed to Iraq and Kuwait in the past six years.
Keenan was first deployed to Iraq in 2005 as a humvee driver and gunner, and a radio operator. Keenan also worked as a joint land attack cruise missile defense elevated netted sensor (JLENS) operator. The JLENS is an extremely high-tech surveillance camera used to detect enemy movements.
“Being away from home was tough not only because I was away from home, but because of the danger that is always constant,” said Keenan.
Keenan was then deployed to Kuwait in 2010 and returned this past Christmas Eve. There, he kept track of and documented all of the battalion and sometimes the brigade wide orders that were put out by either the battalion commander or the brigade commander.
The experience in Kuwait was less dangerous, but he still missed his life back home.
“In Kuwait, being away from home was tough just because it is never fun being away from home for so long, even though there was not much of a threat to personal safety. The thing that I missed the most about home while I was away was my friends and family and just normal life.”
Keenan enlisted in the Army National Guard in 2001, while he was a junior in high school.
“I always wanted to join the military and I chose the National Guard because of the program they offer where you can enlist while still in high school,” Kennan explained. “I wanted to get in as soon as possible.”
The military lifestyle was stitched into Keenan’s DNA. His father, who Steve credits most for his decision to join the military, was in the Navy and went to Army Basic Training after his time in the Navy. Unfortunately, due to a medical set back, it led to a medical discharge from the Army. His dad’s father also served in the Army in Europe and North Africa during World Ward II.
Keenan has strong ties to Dorchester. His mother, aunts, uncles, and cousins all live in Dorchester along with many close friends. He is also a member and past Commander of the St. Mark’s VFW Post on Bailey Street.
“I can’t say enough about the support I have received from everyone I know. Especially, from my close friends and family. I have never gotten any criticism of any kind for what I do. When I see how grateful and appreciative people are who know me, it always reminds me exactly why I do what I do. It’s the greatest feeling in the world.”
Staff Sergeant Keenan has earned a Joint Forces Commendation Medal, an Army Good Conduct Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, during his two deployments.