GRAFENWOEHR, Germany –
Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers continue to provide support for their active-duty counterparts during overseas deployment training (ODT) opportunities and aid in overall mission success.
ODT opportunities are created when one of the Army service component commands have a training requirement shortfall for a theater security cooperation exercise. Once the shortfalls are identified, National Guard units can volunteer to conduct their unit-based annual training as a participant in such an exercise.
“It’s a mutually beneficial relationship,” said U.S. Army Maj. Ubaid Haq, a Judge Advocate General (JAG) officer in the U.S. Army Reserve. “For me, I get to learn things that I never see on the reserve side. I’m benefiting a lot and soaking it all in and it has been extremely revealing to see what the active duty side sees face-to-face on a daily basis”
Haq is one of two JAG officers assigned to Germany for two weeks as part of the overseas deployment training (ODT) program. On the civilian side, Haq is the assistant chief immigration judge for the New York Immigration Courts.
Haq explained how there is incredible value in the broad knowledge base that reservists bring with them from their civilian careers.
"We work daily with the civilian rules of evidence which are very similar to the military rules of evidence. So we can bring a lot to the table, procedurally and strategically,” said Haq. “It allows us to come here and hit the ground running.”
Reserve component Soldiers bring unique skills and experience from their civilian jobs that the active-duty component does not otherwise have access to.
U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Messer, 345th Combat Support Hospital, is also here on a two-week ODT assignment. Messer has served as a combat medic in the Army Reserve for the past 14 years and is now the CEO of a hospital on the civilian side.
“This is my third time to Germany, and I love it. When I got the call asking if I wanted to come back, I said absolutely,” Messer said.
In addition to his medical knowledge, Messer brings his experience with navigating a civilian career and climbing the corporate ladder. He said he enjoys talking with Soldiers who are thinking about transitioning into the civilian workforce.
“I love the camaraderie and getting to guide some of the younger folks coming in to the military. I wouldn’t be where I am today if someone hadn’t helped me.” Messer said.