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NEWS | June 26, 2018

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers: Always on the trail

By Spc. Tynisha Daniel 108th Training Command (IET)

Soldiers from across the U.S. Army Reserve bring a unique set of skills to the Army, as they not only serve their country but they also have a civilian lifestyle and occupations that mirror their military skills.

Military training of Army Reserve Soldiers is often received once a month on the weekend. However, these “Weekend Warriors” are always ready to respond to the call of duty.

Army Reserve Sgt 1st Class Brain Hazzard, Staff Sgt. Karlston Wilson and Staff Sgt. Randy Pittman, 98th Training Division (IET) are prime examples of Citizen Soldiers. 

Each Soldier has served more than a decade in the Army Reserve and all have civilian jobs that correlate with their military occupational specialties (MOS). 

As a combat medic (68W) with the 343rd Ground Ambulance Company, Hazzard used his military skill set to help land his job as a bio medical technician for General Electric. 

“Because of my military training and experiences, I was able to get this position, a lot of what you learn as a 68W I use daily at my job,” said Hazzard.

While many Reserve Soldiers use their training received for their MOS to find jobs in the civilian sector, the opposite is true as they use their civilian education to perform and excel in military ranks. 

“The benefit of being a 68W is the biology and anatomy piece, understanding how the human body works. It has equated to some of the equipment I see and work on, I am able to have an intelligent conversations with medical providers because of my military training, “ said Hazzard.

Civilian experiences and education have been proven useful to the aid of Soldiers and their commands when using the Army Values and completing their duties in their MOS and/or special tasks.

Staff Sgt. Karlston Wilson, a Drill Sergeant with bravo company, 323 regiment, 4th Brigade, 98th Training Division uses his Soldier training and attention to detail on his civilian job daily.

When not on military duty, Wilson is a Conductor and Remote Control Operator for Norfolk Southern. Norfolk Southern trains transport the nation’s goods to businesses and communities across a 19,500-mile rail network, passing through small towns, big cities, and everywhere in-between. 

No matter where Wilson travels one thing remains constant; his commitment to safety. 

“I’m always on the trail, whether it be on the railroad or training basic combat Soldiers,” said Wilson.

As Drill sergeant or as conductor and remote control operator, attention to detail is critical to Wilson when properly doing his job. Wilson often times maintains the transport of military sensitive items, hazardous and chemical materials and is responsible for the strenuous training and safety of Soldiers. 

“As an conductor my job is to manage freight and cargo," said Wilson. "I’m responsible for everything that is behind the engine, I operate in the capacity of an engineer but with an remote control device, similar to how drill sergeants operate for the Army in molding civilians to become Soldiers."

The similarities between engineers and drill sergeants are vast. 

A railroad engineer must have a strong sense of attention to detail for reporting problems with the train's condition, work tremendous hours with little rest, keep the train on schedule, and observe and proactively follow safety procedures.

As a drill sergeant, Wilson works long hours on a specific schedule teaching new recruits every aspect of Basic Combat training to shape those civilians into the best Soldiers they can be. 

Because the proper training of Soldiers is vital to the end strength of the Army, drill sergeants must provide strenuous training and follow proper safety procedures for the best outcome of a Soldier. 

“As a Soldier, once you learn how to soldier and (you) depart basic training, those skills must become second nature," Wilson explained. "As an Remote Control Operator and drill sergeant my skills have become second nature and my responsibilities are automatic."

Wilson credits the Army Reserve for his ability to stay sharp his civilian job and as a Drill Sergeant.

Another Citizen-Soldiers bringing an abundance of diverse talents, skills, and education to the Army and their civilian job is Staff Sgt. Randy Pittman, a wheeled vehicle mechanic (91B, instructor), 98th Training Division.

Like many Soldiers, Wilson does the same work on both sides because he enjoys the similarities between his civilian and military work.

Staff Sgt. Randy Pittman, a wheeled vehicle mechanic (91B, instructor), 98th Training Division incorporates his military/civilian education, skills, and experiences to benefit him in his unit and civilian job.

As a civilian, Pittman works as a Diesel Mechanic for the Ready Command at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and incorporates his military/civilian education, skills, and experiences to benefit him in both careers. 

“As a diesel mechanic we work on military vehicles and get them ready to be shipped in support of other reserve units, this is very similar to my job as a 91B,” said Pittman.

Similar to his military career, as a civilian, he handles the proper maintenance and repair of all tactical and some armored vehicles, both heavy and light.

Having a civilian job correlating to their MOS offers the opportunity to enrich a Soldier's ability to contribute to the Army as a whole. 

Citizen-Soldier is title that Army Reserve Soldiers were proudly. Army Reserve Soldiers have coined the term “Weekend Warrior” and made themselves an important asset to the Army by applying their civilian careers to enhance their military service.