DELMAR, N.Y. –
DELMAR, N.Y – For Maj. Jonathan Reiner, the summer of 2010 brought two life changing decisions: building a relationship with his now-wife of ten years, Mrs. Tamar Reiner, and commissioning in the Army Reserve as an officer in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps.
“I was 27 at the time working as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, and Tamar was living in Manhattan and working at a small marketing agency,” explained Maj. Reiner. “My Army accessions board met a few months later into us dating. I was concerned she may not like it, but she understood and was very supportive.” As he would come to learn, both he and Tamar shared family histories of military service: for Tamar, her father served in the Israeli Armed Forces. For Maj. Reiner, both his grandfathers served in the Army during World War II: one served as an Engineer and Technician third grade (T/3) [equivalent to the current E-6 grade], and the other served as a Corporal in the Army Air Corps.
Reflecting on her experience as a military spouse, Tamar shared, “I’m so glad that he is doing something that he feels passionate about, that serves our country and the greater good. I’m very proud of him and all the time he puts into it. The hardest part is when he has to be away from our family. I remind myself that he’s serving our country and it’s benefiting our family in the end.”
13 years since their first date, they have built a home that includes two beautiful sons, now in their toddler years. Military benefits for the entire Reiner family – such as TRICARE Reserve Select, Family Servicemember Group Life Insurance (SGLI), and the Post-9/11 GI Bill – provide a level of security and ease for them as parents. “We have GI Bill fully funded that will go towards the children’s education and family SGLI at maximum for emergencies,” shared Maj. Reiner.
“It takes a lot of weight off our shoulders. Even if I’m having anxiety in the present because of his military duty taking him away, I remind myself that there will be less stress in the future in terms of paying for college. The GI Bill is a great benefit,” said Tamar.
Their relationship and understanding of how to best thrive as an Army Reserve family has grown alongside Maj. Reiner’s rising career, with best practices such as choosing military-friendly civilian occupations to ease their already demanding responsibilities as partners, parents, and professionals. Tamar works at Albany Law School as a coordinator for the Government Law Center, and Maj. Reiner has a full-time civilian job as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern district of New York. “Having a civilian job that is understanding of military obligations makes serving in the Army Reserve more manageable,” said Maj. Reiner.
Maj. Reiner not only serves as a judge advocate attorney in his primary specialty. As of January 2022, he was selected as the headquarters company commander of over 110 Soldiers assigned to the United States Army Reserve Legal Command in Gaithersburg, MD. As a core component of this role is traveling monthly from his home in New York to Maryland to prepare and lead battle assemblies, this is the first role in his military career that has demanded this much travel, in addition to weeknights and monthly weekends of service hours. “Being in this position helps me understand the larger Army and how things operate,” reflected Maj. Reiner, “it’s been exhausting but an eye-opening experience to command.”
“His schedule has been different with each unit and position he’s been in over the years,” reflected Tamar, “and now that we have a family, we talk more about how his new positions will impact the family.”
As the roles and demands of his job have changed, Mrs. Reiner described feeling proud while also wanting the best for her husband. “He’s very good at managing his time and not becoming overwhelmed with work. I always want to make sure he’s not taking on more than he should be, which can be a challenge.”
One ritual she appreciates from her husband is his routine of getting the house in order before he leaves for a trip: “He tries to set me up for success before he goes away, such as taking the garbage out, stocking all supplies I will need for the kids, and giving them a really good bath before he travels,” shared Mrs. Reiner.
“It’s a blessing to know that she’s not getting angry at me for going away,” praised Maj. Reiner. “When I get back, she and the kids are excited to see me, and I know that may not be the case for everyone.”
“If you have a supportive family, it’s possible to balance this lifestyle,” he continued. “It’s not going to make serving in the military an easy job, but it makes it a manageable job. If being a commander is what you want to do, this is the only opportunity short of being a Colonel and commanding a Legal Operations Detachment for judge advocates. I definitely think it’s something worthwhile. It’s been an incredible experience being the commander, and incredibly educational. Like with everything else, I wouldn’t have had this opportunity without Tamar.”
Interested in becoming an Army JAG Corps officer? Learn valuable skills and serve close to home while continuing your civilian career at https://www.jagcnet.army.mil/GoArmyJAG/Reserve. Find more on Army Reserve Family programs and resources at https://www.usar.army.mil/ARFP/.