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Army Reserve Soldier wants to repay those who supported through long career

By Lt. Col. Gregg Moore | 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) | March 21, 2016

Sunday, March 20, 2016 —
LOS ANGELES - U.S. Army Reserve Col. Amy Taitano said, “Communication and teamwork is the key to any success, regardless of whether it is a personal challenge, a work challenge, or an Army challenge. Don’t hesitate to take the lead and include people because if you combine everyone’s skills you usually win.”

This attitude carried Taitano through a very successful Army Reserve career and impacting the lives of the many Soldiers she has led through to accomplishing many missions. She retires in May 2016 with a desire to continue to serve in other ways.

Taitano grew up in the Midwest and attended Minnesota State University, Mankato, Minnesota. After her first year of college, she realized she could not afford to continue with school. She considered an Army enlistment, not only for the college benefits, but because she loved working outdoors and travel. She did not enlist. Instead, she applied for the Reserve Officers Training Corps, and was awarded a three year scholarship to finish her degree in Administration Management and Industrial Relations with minors in Economics and Military Science. She graduated and was commissioned as a quartermaster branch second lieutenant in 1987.

As there were no Army Reserve quartermaster duty positions near her hometown, she was assigned to lead a telephone operations platoon in a signal company. 

She said this first job is where she learned the importance of trusting noncommissioned officers. The success of the unit and her success was dependent upon learning from them. Taitano did well as a platoon leader and she was selected to command the signal company as a first lieutenant. She was reminded that communication and teamwork are always keys to success.

Her husband, N.C. “Tai” Taitano, had the opportunity to go into business with his brother back at his home of Guam in the early 1990s. They left Idaho and settled on the island. Taitano’s first assignment on Guam was as a Military Police platoon leader, but after a short time, she became the supply and services officer for the 9th Mission Support Command. She loved the people and the family oriented culture of Guam. Unfortunately, the time came for them to leave the island and return to the continental United States. 

They chose Las Vegas, Nevada as their new home. Taitano joined, what was then called, the 311th Corps Support Command. Initially she served as the Subsistence Officer and later became the executive officer of the Headquarters Special Troops Battalion in Los Angeles. She deployed with the unit to Kuwait shortly after from 2004 to 2005. 

Upon returning home from the deployment, Taitano was assigned to the 311th Directorate of Operations, G-3, until she became the Distribution Management Chief and later took charge of the Support Operations section at the newly formed 304th Sustainment Support Brigade, Riverside, California. Taitano deployed to Iraq with the 304th in 2008. She felt this mission was one of her most enjoyable jobs as a logistics officer. From Joint Base Balad, the unit provided general support throughout the country and direct support to fourteen Forward Operating Bases, keeping infantry and other combat arms units in the fight.

Taitano was known to be a very involved leader by her Soldiers, however, she was also good at delegating and letting her staff members do their jobs. Master Sgt. Earl Campbell, 650th Regional Support Group Operations Sergeant, said, “She was not afraid to get hands on if needed.”

Following another successful deployment, Taitano was selected to command the 419th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Tustin, California. Followed by selection to command the 420th Movement Control Battalion for their deployment to Kuwait in 2012. After demonstrating her leadership abilities once again, she was selected to command the 650th Regional Support Group in Las Vegas, Nevada. Taitano said she believes every responsibility is a challenge. 

She said, “The most important things are doing what’s right, fighting for what’s right, owning up to mistakes and then learning from them.”

She feels if everyone really tries to do their best for the group by focusing on the issues, doing the right things, and working to become competent, organizations will succeed.

Lt. Col. Chandra Roberts, commander, 469th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, felt Taitano was a great example. “Col. Amy Taitano taught me to always remain positive as the commander,” said Roberts. “She cared deeply about Soldiers and ultimately preparing units to be able to do their mission in war.” 

the Army Reserve’s mission benefits from the leadership, resiliency and technical proficiency of more than 45,000 female Soldiers, or 23 percent of the force, in many diverse career fields. The Army Reserve team must maintain its combat edge during this period of persistent conflict and constrained resources; this would not be possible without the contributions of its female Soldiers.

Taitano retires in May, 2016. She hopes to put her personal life and her home in order after her long career and a busy life. She wants to be there for all the friends and family who have been there for her through the years, especially during the three deployments. She is already beginning to return the years of favors she feels she owes her friends and family. For example, she said she recently really enjoyed helping a friend move. She also found it very rewarding when she was able to do something as simple as picking up a friend who had a flat tire because she was home, unlike in the past when she might have been on duty somewhere. It was rewarding to be there for them because they had helped her and her children. She also wants to do volunteer work. 

Looking back, she said she would tell her younger self to take more risks and take on more challenges.