Story by Master Sgt. Enid Ramos-Mandell
Army Reserve Medical Command
PINELLAS PARK, Fla. – First Lt. Alexander (Alec) Augustine-Marceil, a native of Marshall, Wis., and a civil affairs team chief with Charlie Company, 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, Green Bay, Wis., has one of those unique stories about serving in Army Reserve and shares it with the "Why I Serve" Discovery Channel Project.
Augustine-Marceil resides of Arlington, Va., and entered the military because he wanted more flexibility.
“I knew I wanted to be a civil affairs officer,” said Augustine-Marceil. “By joining the Army Reserve … I was able to have more control over my career path and begin a career in the intelligence field working in a civil affairs unit.”
The Army Reserve has made him a stronger and better person he expressed, “When people rely on you, whether it is for a weekend training plan or with their lives on a patrol, you have to rise to that challenge.”
“As a leader, even for personal tasks, like performing well on a PT test [Army Physical Fitness Test], are tied to the team because people look to you as an example and follow your lead,” said Augustine-Marceil.
“There are no excuses in that environment; and I’ve grown because of it.”
Augustine-Marceil remarked that being selected for this project is an opportunity for him to help reach a new and broad scale audience about the Army Reserve.
“I’m excited to help the Army, by educating the public on the many different ways one can serve,” he said. “Especially the Civil Affairs branch, which is an extraordinarily interesting field that is sometimes overlooked.”
While Augustine-Marceil was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, from June 2011 to March 2012, he worked 8 to 15-hour days, six and half days a week.
“I loved it … there was never a thought about what I was doing was valuable, so it wasn’t difficult to get up early or stay until the final report was out,” he said. He emphasized that it was so rewarding, that when he looks back, the challenges melted away, and only a sense of accomplishment remained.
In the beginning of Augustine-Marceil’s deployment, he found his job to be dull, reviewing and editing daily reports, but later his job lead to a once in a life time opportunity for him. Because he acquired much knowledge on the situational awareness of the country through his job, he participated in a fly-over of the countryside. This was his most rewarding experience while deployed.
“I saw rows of orchards and vineyards … everywhere else in Kandahar I traveled was scarred by war, but that district was not only relatively untouched by warfare, but also by other modern things,” stated Augustine-Marceil. “It could have been the 16th century.”
Augustine-Marceil’s future plans are to work on policy and doctrine to shape the future of civil affairs. “I am especially interested in the intersection between civil affairs and military intelligence,” he said. “I’d also like to play a role in training civil affairs soldiers, especially with our military partnerships,”
He states that his employer, Palantir Technologies in McLean, Va., support his service in the military where he works as an embedded analyst/mission specialist.
“A big chunk of my job is supporting military intelligence and civil affairs analysts,” said Augustine-Marceil. He added that a number of his colleagues are former military or Soldiers that serve in the military today.
“If it were not for the military,” said Augustine-Marceil. “I would not be where I am today without the experience I gained in the military.”
Augustine-Marceil attended the Department of State's Foreign Service Institute in January 2011. He is a graduate from John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School as a civil affairs officer in May 2011; and graduated from the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence as an Intelligence officer in December of 2010. He was commissioned in 2009 after attending the Reserve Officer Training Corps at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wis., where he received his Bachelors in Arts in International Studies with a Global/National Security emphasis.
Augustine-Marceil loves camping in “rustic” conditions by choice rather than necessity and finds it more fun. He also enjoys reading long form magazine articles, learning about exotic places he has yet to go, or problems the world has yet to solve.
“The Army Reserve is a force with different capabilities and we are all professionals.” stressed Augustine-Marceil.