FORT CUSTER, Mich. –
Learning new languages, experiencing world cultures, discovering new geographies, and gaining opportunities to travel. These are just a few of the advantages of being a civil affairs Soldier.
One of those Soldiers is Spc. Alexander Shaltry, from Grand Ledge, Michigan, of Bravo Company, 415th Civil Affairs Battalion, who studied business as a student and chose civil affairs in the U.S. Army Reserve to learn about building networks and friendships.
“You get to build relationships, you get to talk to people. You really can learn so much that’s applicable from the military to your personal life, your work life. I think there’s so many good things you can learn. I love civil affairs, and I have no regret choosing this field.”
Shaltry’s unit, the 415th Civil Affairs Battalion, conducted a validation exercise, Crimson Dawn 3.0, at Fort Custer, Augusta, Michigan, on March 16, 2021, where his unit was evaluated by OC/Ts from the 308th Civil Affairs Brigade and First Army in order to prepare the unit, at its culmination, for their deployment to Europe in support of Atlantic Resolve. Civil Affairs Soldiers, like Shaltry, are frontline Soldiers who connect among NATO and other allied nations while using their civilian skills in this growing field.
“I think that as we go forward into the future, civil affairs is going to be really important.”
This exercise not only validates the unit but also prepares Soldiers of what they will face within their host nation. Soldiers like Spc. Robert Luginbuhl, from Ionia, Michigan, Bravo Company, 415th Civil Affairs Battalion, are able to gain experience through their honed skills.
“The situational training that we’re doing right now is very good practice because I’m getting to see, first-hand, what we are going to be doing during a civil engagement.”
With the many skills learned and opportunities experienced, the greatest aspect felt within this unit is seeing and knowing the results of their work and its multiplied benefits, “One of the reasons why I joined the Army was so I could help people, and this is probably one of the best ways to do that.”