RC Soldiers Filling AD Vacancies: MI Guardsmen Embody Readiness Precepts

Michigan Army National Guard Soldier, Staff Sgt. Charlie Stefan, stands with Haloti Ngata, defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, Nov. 7, 2017, during a meet-the-players event for military members and […]

Michigan Army National Guard Soldier, Staff Sgt. Charlie Stefan, stands with Haloti Ngata, defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions, Nov. 7, 2017, during a meet-the-players event for military members and their families. (Courtesy Photo)

 

Story by Angela Simpson, JFHQ Public Affairs

Lansing, Mich.– “Probably the most challenging thing about these positions is that each one is slightly different,” said Rivard. “The general process is pretty much the same, but there are different types of active duty, and different requirements depending on the requesting unit, the Soldier’s MOS [military occupational specialty] and other things. The process probably scares a fair number of Soldiers away but it really shouldn’t; staying current on PT [physical training] tests, health assessments, security clearance, training and performance evaluations will go a long way toward being good to go for anyone considering a TOD.”

 

Reserve component Soldiers apply for TOD assignments for a number of reasons. Some accept a TOD because career promotion boards often look favorably on voluntary tours, other Soldiers view the active duty time as a way to bolster GI Bill benefits and retirement credits, or as an opportunity to travel, and other Soldiers just need a job. Whatever the reason for volunteering though, exit interviews suggests that most reserve component Soldiers are glad they volunteered.

“I first worked with the 173rd Airborne when I was supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve in 2014,” said Lt. Col. John Hall, previous commander of the Michigan National Guard 126th Press Camp Headquarters. “The 173rd public affairs leaders and I developed a close working relationship during OAR, so last summer when they needed an experienced public affairs officer to lead their team, I applied and was selected. Now I spend my days jumping out of C-17s all across Europe – life is good.”

 

Lt. Col. John Hall (back row, right) stands with fellow members of the 173rd Airborne Brigade public affairs staff, Feb. 15, 2018, in Vicenza, Italy. Hall volunteered for a one year deployment with the active duty unit through the Tour of Duty program, www.hrc.army.mil for reserve component Soldiers looking for an active duty assignment. (Courtesy Photo)

 

Hall, stationed with the 173rd at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy, will complete his 12-month tour in August. Thus far he has supported airborne combat training in Latvia, Germany, Slovenia, covered a historic mission to Serbia, conducted mountaineering training with the Italian Alpini Brigade and traveled to Toulouse, France to support 173rd Airborne combined engineering operations with French paratroopers. Hall said, “The operational tempo here at the 173rd Airborne is intense. I am humbled every day by the discipline, determination and dedication of these young Americans, forward stationed and always prepared to defend their country.”

Also in Italy, at Camp Ederle in Vicenza, Staff Sgt. Brandon Ames and Staff Sgt. Charlie Stefan are serving tours as public affairs videographers for Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. CJTF-HOA conducts security force assistance, executes military engagement, provides force protection, and provides military support to regional counter-violent extremist organization operations in order to support aligned regional efforts, ensure regional access and freedom of movement, and protect U.S. interests in northern Africa (www.hoa.africom.mil).

Staff Sgt. Brandon Ames a resident of Muskegon, Michigan and a member of the Augusta-based Michigan National Guard 126th Press Camp Headquarters, takes some time to explore the Arena di Verona in Italy, Feb. 10, 2018. Ames volunteered for a one year tour of active duty as a videographer with Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa. He is based in Vicenza at Camp Ederle. (Courtesy Photo)

 

Traditional Guard Soldier, Lt. Col. Allen Reeves, the Director of Resource Management with Michigan’s 46th Military Police Command and a full-time Internal Review Auditor with the United States Property and Fiscal Office (USPFO), is preparing for a tour with United States Army Africa (USARAF). Operating from Vicenza, Italy beginning next month, Reeves’ duties will primarily include Finance and Budget Coordination in the USARAF Plans, Operations and Training office. Reeves applied for the active duty tour as a broadening assignment (with the added benefit of being stationed near Venice), and to qualify for a Post-9/11 GI Bill that will help support his daughter’s education costs. Kiersten Reeves is a student athlete at Wayne State University competing in cross country and track and majoring in biology.

Michigan Army National Guard Soldier, Lt. Col. Allen Reeves coordinates plans during exercise Vibrant Response 17 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Aug. 1, 2017. Vibrant Response is a U.S. Northern Command-sponsored field training exercise for chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and high-yield explosive consequence management forces designed to improve their ability to respond to catastrophic incidents. (Michigan National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Helen Miller)

 

Reserve component Soldiers can go to www.hrc.army.mil for more information about Tour of Duty opportunities. For more information about the Sky Soldiers of the 173rd Airborne Brigade visit army.mil/skysoldier or skysoldier.net and to learn about Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa go to globalsecurity.org (OEF-HOA) or http://www.hoa.africom.mil/. Air Force equivalent opportunities in the Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty program can be viewed at https://mypers.af.mil/.

Stay tuned to the Michigan National Guard website, www.minationalguard.com and social media outlets for updates on MIARNG tour of duty deployments and other Michigan National Guard news.

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