By Sgt. William Taylor
314th Theater Public Affairs Support Element
When the opportunity to get extra training presented itself, one Army Reserve Soldier volunteered to work alongside the New York Army National Guard to get the advanced skills.
Spc. Jimmy Aparicio, a wheeled vehicle mechanic for the 215th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment out of New Orleans, assisted and learned job-related skills while working with Soldiers from the 204th Engineer Battalion out of Binghamton, N.Y., during Guardian Response 21 on Muscatatuck Urban Training Center, Ind., April 24, 2021.
“We were more than happy to put him to work,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Hibbard, a maintenance supervisor for the Forward Support Element of the 204th . “He has worked beyond expectations and has done absolutely outstanding. He fit right in with the rest of our Soldiers as if he had been with the unit organically for years.”
The mission of the 215th MPAD is public affairs-focused. While it does have vehicles, it does not have the same maintenance or mechanical capabilities as the 204th. Therefore, he was able to get more in-depth training and more real-world experience by being a part of Guardian Response 21.
“It has been a great experience,” said Aparicio. “ I have gotten the opportunity to weld as a part of field maintenance. We have been doing repairs on generators and maintaining vehicles. The best part was the notional vehicle recovery mission yesterday.”
The 204th FSC conducted a notional recovery mission of a light medium tactical vehicle during the previous day’s situational training exercise. Sgt. Melinda Farnham, a wheeled vehicle mechanic for the 204th, was part of the recovery team that included Aparicio.
“He has been great and jumps right into the mission,” said Farnham. “Yesterday he had the choice to either join us on a simulated recovery or go back with his unit, and he chose to stay with us. That moment just shows his work ethic and the type of Soldier he is.”
When asked about the opportunity to train alongside the New York Army National Guard Solders, Aparicio stated, “I fit right in with my brothers and sisters and hit the ground running. Working with the Army National Guard Soldiers has been great, because I am being exposed to situations I normally would not see at my unit.”