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Army Reserve Ambassador celebrate 50 years of service

By Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris | 99th Readiness Division | April 4, 2018

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Army Reserve Ambassador (Emeritus) Norbert J. Rappl has been serving the U.S. Army for longer than most current Soldiers have been alive.

First as a Soldier who achieved the rank of major general, then as an ARA since 1998, Rappl has more than 50 years of service to the nation.

Now, after a half-century of selfless service, Rappl is stepping away from his ARA role and beginning the next chapter in his life.

“Going back over my Army career, I’ve seen a lot of changes,” said Rappl, who commanded the Army Reserve’s 98th Training Division in Rochester prior to its re-stationing to Fort Benning, Georgia. “I’ve watched the ups and downs of the economy, the ups and downs of recruiting, the ups and downs of funding for the military, but some things don’t change – and the things that don’t change are the Soldiers.

Rappl was honored March 17 when Maj. Gen. Troy D. Kok, commanding general of the Army Reserve’s 99th Readiness Division, awarded him the Commanders Public Service Commendation Medal during a Recruiting Reserve Partnership Council meeting here.

“For all your years of dedicated service,” Kok said as he presented the award to Rappl, who has been part of the ARA Program since it was established in 1998 to promote awareness of the Army Reserve. ARAs are Special Government Employees who represent the Chief of the Army Reserve without salary, wages or related benefits.

“I was one of the first ones, and I’ve watched the program evolve,” said Rappl, an Army War College graduate. “I think it’s one of the greatest initiatives the Army has ever developed.”

ARAs build relationships and strive to improve the understanding and knowledge of the Army Reserve within the business and social sectors of communities across America. They help to educate the public, community leaders and congressional staff offices about the capabilities and values of the Army Reserve and the Soldiers who live and work in their communities.

They establish open lines of communication with the local communities, and they work to support recruiting efforts by assisting community and business leaders in recognizing that the Army Reserve strengthens the Soldiers, the community, and the Nation.

“All in all, it’s been a great experience and the Army is a magnificent institution,” Rappl said.

For more information, visit http://www.usar.army.mil/Featured/Ambassador-Program/