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NEWS | Jan. 20, 2023

Passing the torch: Army Reserve father supports son's military aspirations

By Sgt. Veroniecya Neal 412th Theater Engineer Command

As one of the last actions prior to his active military retirement, Lt. Col. Brian Kilgore pinned his son, Landen, as a specialist on Dec. 3, 2022.

When asked why he joined the military, Landen said that it was because of his dad.

“I never told him that I always thought about joining up because of him,” he said. “I want to follow in his footsteps, but maybe not as an officer. The second main reason was the benefits the Arkansas National Guard offers, like paying for college.”

Brian, the current 412th Theater Engineer Command deputy G4/logistics officer, said that it feels kind of strange because it is like he’s starting over again after 25 years of military service. He hopes Landen enjoys the military as much as he does and makes lifelong friendships.

For now, Landen wants to finish his contract and see where it goes from there.

Landen was very happy that his father was able to attend and pin him before he retires from the military. However, the idea of his father’s separation from the U.S. Army will take some getting used to for him.

“I know he likes being in the military and it seems strange that my dad will not be wearing an Army uniform in the next year and a half,” said Landen. “I am 27 years old, and I have never seen him without being in uniform. This is how I remember my dad, always having a Military uniform on.”

After pinning his son, Brian said that it felt great.

“I never thought in a million years my son would join the Arkansas National Guard, especially the same Infantry Battalion and Company, Alpha Company 153rd Infantry in Prescott, Arkansas, where I first joined,” said Kilgore.

Brian first learned of Landen wanting to join the service while deployed to Qatar. Immediately after arriving home, he took his son to a recruiting office in Hot Springs, Ark.

Once Landen arrived at Fort Benning for Basic Combat Training in 2021, he notified his father that he would not be able to experience the things they had previously discussed, such as day passes and trips to the Post Exchange.

Brian felt dismayed that Landen had to go through training with COVID-19 health protocol restrictions, but he is proud that he completed it.

It was a huge relief the day of Landen’s graduation. Brian placed Landen’s blue cord on his son and the whole family witnessed it.