America’s best investment is in our Warrior-Citizens

One of America’s best investments is the one it makes in its Army Reserve Soldiers.

The expertise of our Warrior-Citizens is employed on the battlefield and in the boardroom.  Army Reserve Soldiers bring cutting-edge ideas from the marketplace to the military enabling the Army to accomplish missions with maximum impact and minimum risk.  In turn, Army Reserve Soldiers bring the skills and values they acquire in uniform – leadership skills, decision-making ability, confidence, and discipline – back to American industry to build stronger businesses and stronger communities.  The remarkable quality of the people on the Army Reserve team adds immeasurable value to the nation.  Below are just a few examples of this positive return on investment.

In between deployments and training, Major Kit Parker is a Harvard professor and bioengineer, leading the Disease Biophysics Group at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).  While deployed at the gates of Kabul with the 3rd Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, he was nearly hit by a roadside bomb and because of this, later became interested in bombs and the traumatic brain injuries they cause.  His team at SEAS started looking into what happens when blast waves penetrate the skull and go to the brain to find a way to lessen in impact and occurrence. This research is likely to benefit Soldiers and civilians as well.

Manuel Borrego, a captain with the Wichita Falls, TX Police Department and a command sergeant major with the U.S. Army Reserve, puts decades of law enforcement experience to good work on the battlefield.  At Camp Alamo, outside Kabul, Borrego serves as commandant of the drill sergeant school with the 108th Training Command, 95th Division, 1st Brigade.  There, he pairs the tactics and leadership he has learned through police work with the training and experience he received throughout his military career to help train Afghan Soldiers.  

University of North Florida nursing professor Linda Connelly, a colonel in the Army Reserve and a 20-year veteran, recently served a yearlong deployment in Iraq, where she helped train nurses and coordinated critical care in battle in Tikrit and Al Asad.  Her primary mission was to save Soldiers, but she also took the time to help build Iraq’s medical infrastructure which included helping to transition their medical record keeping system from manual to electronic.  Connelly developed the first-ever Iraqi nurse-training program and provided clinical instruction to Iraqi nurses, which was difficult given vast technological and cultural differences - especially with gender roles.  In Iraqi hospitals, male and female nurses cannot take care of patients of the opposite sex.  Connelly has worked in military hospitals and emergency rooms evaluating and treating trauma injuries many times, but not to the degree she experienced in Iraq.  There her leadership and medical expertise helped to save countless lives as well as improve the healthcare of the Iraqi people.  

 Even though he is a judge, he readily acknowledges he is a Soldier first.  District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Robert Rigsby is also an Army Reserve judge who presided over 30 cases involving Federal criminal laws and the Uniform Code of Military Justice during a six-month tour in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait.  He took on cases ranging from murder to desertion.  Rigsby, a Colonel, is a 28-year Army veteran, who has served on active duty and as a reserve officer.  He is the first judge advocate sent to war full time, and the first sitting D.C. judge to see active duty in war.

As a nurse, she works in Baton Rouge for an agency that allows her to rotate to different hospitals.  As a Soldier, she serves in the 344th Maintenance Company in Hammond, LA.   When Sergeant Michelle Caddy, of Baton Rouge, joined the Army Reserve at age 18, she had a choice of career fields: computer programming or diesel mechanics.  She chose diesel mechanics.  Caddy, 25, says that she can tear down and rebuild a Humvee’s 6.2- liter diesel engine with the best of them.  “I guess I always was kind of a tomboy growing up,” she said.  Besides being a Soldier and a mechanic, Caddy is also a nurse, a mother to son Cayman, 5, and has managed to find time to volunteer, particularly in the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Gustav and Ike.

All of the above Warrior-Citizens are proud examples of patriotism and selfless service to both our nation and to the world.  They are an integral part of the best trained, best led, and best equipped fighting force our country has ever fielded.  Not only are they warriors, but they are also humanitarians, nation builders, beacons of hope, and guardians of freedom.  While answering our nation’s call to duty, they continue to serve us with courage, honor, and distinction.     

America can make no better investment than the one we make in our Warrior-Citizens.

Lt. Gen. Stultz is the Commanding General of the Army Reserve