FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico –
LTG Charles D. Luckey, Chief of Army Reserve and Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command, spent time with Soldier from the 1st Mission Support Command, its non-aligned units, and Fort Buchanan, to observe and recognize the hard work of America’s Army Reserve during Hurricane Maria relief efforts October 21-23.
More than 2000 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 1st MSC, other reserve units on Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands were activated in response to local and federal requests for assistance after Hurricane Maria devastated the island on September 20.
“A lot of places I go around the world, I see this patch right here,” said Luckey referring to La Garita patch for the 1st MSC. “Everywhere I go is a choice. Part of it is to message to this team, how much it means to the American people that you’re doing what you are doing.”
“Where I go, hopefully says more about what I care about, what I’m focused on, and who I want to recognize,” said Luckey. “Right now, I’m here with this team. You have done awesome stuff for the Army and for the people on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. All of the goodness that you have demonstrated is permeating America’s Army Reserve. Your fellow Soldiers are proud of you, proud of what you are doing, proud of what you represent.”
Pfc. Jonathan Crespo, assigned to the 597th Quartermaster Company, agrees that Luckey’s presence shows commitment to his Soldiers and is a motivating factor in their everyday work.
“I think it is great that he is here to see us,” said Pfc. Jonathan Crespo, 597th Quartermaster Company. “Having LTG Luckey here is something important for us. When we start to wonder why we are here, having our leader’s visit helps to keep us motivated and working hard.”
During his time on the island, Luckey met with several different units. In Ceiba, he meet with Task Force 166th and was given a brief synopsis of their everyday operations.
“It is truly an honor to see LTG Luckey here,” said 1sg Sgt. William Gonzalez, 432nd Transportation Company first sergeant. “We ran into him during the Army 10 miler and he made a commitment that he would be here in two weeks and here he is. It is unfortunate that the whole unit is not here but I am truly honored that a small unit like the 432nd Transportation Company, had a chance to visit with Double Eagle 6."
The 432nd Transportation Company works in support of FEMA and currently push out commodities all over the island to include Cabo Rojo, Rinco and Aguada and began operations two days after Hurricane Maria hit.
On his last stop, Luckey arrived at Guajataca where he had the opportunity to speak with Soldiers from the 973rd Quartermaster Company. The 973rd QM CO is in charge of purifying water from the Guajataca Lake. Along with Soldiers from the 4th Infantry Division out of Fort Carson, Colorado, America’s Army Reserve distributes water to the citizens of Puerto Rico.
“It was awesome to have the general here,” said Staff Sgt. Miguel Antonio Luzunaris from the 973rd QM Co. “It means a lot to my Soldiers, they were very excited and motivated to learn that he was coming to see our site. This is his second time in Puerto Rico and that means a lot, not just for my crew that is here but for Puerto Rico.”
“We are purifying water for the community and we are trying to get as much water out as possible. We see the lines forming every day and the lines don’t stop,” continued Luzunaris. “We can also see how grateful the people are. They always come up to us and try to speak English with us, they think that we are not from here but we let them know that we are the Army Reserve and that we are “Boricua” too. They are more grateful when they learn that, they tell us that we are doing a wonderful job.
Without this water, they have to go to other places to get water and pay for it. We are providing water for them free of charge. More than 12,500 gallons a day. That is a good thing for us and Puerto Rico.”
“This organization, which was the 1st MSC is something bigger,” said Luckey. “This team exemplifies exactly what we are looking for in the future of America’s Army Reserve. The ability to flex on the move, to be agile, be consistently motivated but also have the flexibility and the innate sense of commitment to mission to re-task, organize, to wrap your mind around a different problem set because I promise you that is what the future is going to bring us.”
We have to remain flexible and agile and what you are doing here, in terms of supporting the people in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, is nothing short of awesome. I wanted to make sure that I made a public statement about that here with this team in this place, concluded Luckey.