FORT McCOY, Wis. –
There are a few touchpoints in a Soldier’s Army Reserve career when they must decide whether to re-enlist. Along that road, Soldiers talk to their Army Reserve career counselor.
One of those career counselors serving local Army Reserve units is Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Gomez. He made the decision to become a career counselor a few years ago after speaking with a colleague who recommended exploring the military occupational skill. “It seemed like the logical progression for my career,” Gomez said.
Gomez enjoys being a career counselor. “It’s a big reward to get to effect change in a Soldier’s life in some way,” he said. “I see this as a service position.”
“Sgt. 1st Class Gomez makes a good career counselor because he puts Soldiers first. He’s a passionate leader who cares about Soldiers and always wants to see the right thing done,” said Master Sgt. Josh Ruggio, area leader for Army Reserve Careers Group.
Gomez talks to both first-term Soldiers and those who are looking at making the Army Reserve a career. Gomez sees roughly 10 to 30 Soldiers a month based on where they are in their contract. “We do our best to reach all the Soldiers we can. We do our best to engage 100 percent of the population,” he said.
The Army Reserve Career Office here support seven units comprised of hundreds of Soldiers. The office is a stand alone offering lots of space and separate offices all in one place. Beside Gomez, there is also a part-time career counselor and officer accessions noncommissioned officer as part of the team.
Sgt. Zachary Shearer re-enlisted on Feb. 4, 2023, here. For him, re-enlisting “was an easy decision to make. I want to do this until I retire,” he said. He’s a 92G culinary specialist with the 1st Regiment, 338th Training Support Battalion.
Shearer sees many benefits of being in the Army Reserve, including health care, and “bonuses are nice. This is what I want to do. This is what I’m good at.” He’ll receive a $15,000 re-enlistment bonus and will also be promoted once the paperwork goes through.
Part of the reenlistment decision was Shearer’s spouse’s opinion. “She wants me to stay in the Army Reserve until I retire, which has always been the plan,” he said.
Shearer encourages other Soldiers who are considering reenlistment to “weigh the benefits, whether monthly pay, health insurance, sense of pride and duty.” Career progression is another benefit for Soldiers.
That’s where Sgt. 1st Class Kevin LeQue comes in. He’s the officer accessions NCO at the Army Reserve Career Office here. In this role, “I seek out highly qualified Soldiers within Wisconsin Army Reserve units and help them prepare Officer Candidate School or warrant officer packets for submission,” he said. “I also educate Soldiers on how they can plan and prepare for promotion, and I help guide their career progression.”
LeQue works with about a dozen Soldiers a year to prepare their packet, and about 30 to 40 more on their career progression so they might submit a packet in the future.
Soldiers considering becoming an officer or warrant office should “definitely contact me and I’ll connect them to the most recent minimum qualifications, monetary benefits and helpful links regarding officer and warrant officer opportunities. I have access to the programs and the experience to put together a highly polished packet for an upcoming officer or warrant officer board,” LeQue said.
Gomez hears concerns from Soldiers, whether the monthly battle assemblies are not fulfilling or if personalities don’t mesh with leadership. Those issues can easily be resolved with a transfer to another unit, said Gomez.
If re-enlisting isn’t right for a Soldier, Gomez recommends that Soldiers “take a knee, take time in the Individual Ready Reserve. Keep your affiliation so you can come back later when it benefits you.”
No matter where Soldiers are in their career, Army Reserve career counselors are a ready resource to talk with about the advantages to a person’s career of re-enlisting in the Army Reserve.