DARIEN, Ill. –
Joining the military has become a Dieckman Family business, as the 416th Theater Engineer Command’s top enlisted advisor’s son, Jared Dieckman, joined the ranks of the U.S. Army Reserve as a third-generation Soldier when he commissioned at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse in May.
Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Dieckman said it was a proud moment and meaningful experience to be the first person to salute his son after he pinned on second lieutenant bars.
Following in his dad’s footsteps is what led Dieckman as a freshman to the Eagle Battalion at UW-Lacrosse, then ultimately under a brigade under his father’s same command, the 372nd Engineer Brigade out of Fort Snelling, Minnesota.
“Through the years, we had open houses and events at the Reserve Centers, and we always took our kids to Family days when they were little,” the command sergeant major said. “One of the things we always joked about, even to this day, we would refer to it as ‘I’m playing Army.’”
He said this unique outlook resonated throughout their Family.
“I didn’t push or anything, you just kind of expose them and let them figure it out on their own,” he said.
The younger Dieckman agreed, saying he paid attention to his dad’s service in the Army Reserve, and he believes his father’s service set him on this path.
“I felt that same kind of pull that he did,” said the newly commissioned second lieutenant. “He always wanted to push me to go to a four-year college and get a degree since I knew what I wanted to do on the civilian side — be a physical therapist. I tried to navigate a way where I could do both, kind of follow the same footsteps that he did, and have my own career.”
The elder Dieckman has served for more than 30 years, and during that time has had the opportunity to talk to cadets and others about the Army Reserve – now he has some advice for his son.
“You ultimately have to make decisions and have to lead, but you don’t have to do it in isolation,” the command sergeant major explained. “Listen to your noncommissioned officers, (they) are going to take you places.”
He added that he also explains the importance of having balance and support.
“I don’t think you can do both without a supportive Family, whether that’s your parents when you are young, or your significant other as you get older,” the elder Dieckman said.
“If you have kids, it obviously takes a very supportive Family from home to be able to keep you on the right path, give you time when you need time, or take care of your kids when you are gone. Creating that balance and understanding that as an Army Reserve Soldier you are going to have a career that is going to be a day-to-day job. The Army Reserve, in a sense, is not meant to be full-time employment, it’s to augment that and serve in a different capacity.”
As a new Soldier in the command, the lieutenant said he will take the advice of those who came before him, as well as take advantage of the Army’s great networking program.
“In my mind, the more people you meet, the better you are in life,” he said. “I think that’s a great aspect of the military. I am so glad I get to be a part of the same organization as my dad because he has been my role model, my idol, for my whole life. So, getting this opportunity to be in something that he is also in and learn from him and everyone he knows is truly a great opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get started.”
Although only about 1% of the American population serves in the military, more and more, new recruits are the children of old recruits, according to The New York Times. In 2019, 79 percent of Army recruits reported having a Family member who served with 30 percent of that being a parent.
For more information on how to join the Army Reserve call 1-888-550-ARMY (2769) or visit the GoArmyReserve.com website.