NEWS | March 28, 2016

From Culinary Specialist to JAG Officer

By Spc. Anthony Martinez 1st Mission Support Command

FORT BUCHANAN, PUERTO RICO - Soldiers, family and friends from the 1st Mission Support Command, US Army Reserve- Puerto Rico gathered at Ramos Hall, for the momentous event where Spc. Anthony Carrillo, would become 1st. Lt. Carrillo on March 23.

A direct commissioning ceremony is the culmination of years of effort when an enlisted soldier becomes a commissioned officer and marks the transition from Warrior to Leader. Carrillo completed his Law Degree at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico School of Law in Ponce, PR and after passing the Bar exam, applied for the JAG Corp. “I was the only one from my unit that was accepted, this is a huge accomplishment,” expressed Carrillo.

The most significant part of the ceremony is when the enlisted takes the commissioning oath and swears, "to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” As tradition holds, Carrillo received his ‘first salute’ and presented a Silver Dollar to his friend, Staff Sgt. Julio E. Munoz.

The Silver Dollar Salute is a long time tradition where the newly commissioned officer presents a silver dollar to the first enlisted Soldier who salutes them. The coin symbolically acknowledges the receipt of respect due to the new rank and position. Munoz has been a friend of Carrillo since they first met while studying political science. It was Munoz that inspired Carrillo to enlist in the military and pursue a career as an officer.

Carrillo, a native from San Juan, Puerto Rico, served as a Quartermaster Culinary Specialist in Charlie Company, 35th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 1st MSC. “While being a lawyer for the Army I can be more effective for the improvement of our forces,” said Carrillo. “This was not easy, basic training wasn’t easy, and nothing in the process was. We just need to live by our Warriors Ethos: I will never quit, I will never accept defeat. You will stumble along the road but the goal, mission or what you propose to yourself will be accomplished.”

This is a weighty responsibility, but after being trained and assessed, the newly minted lieutenant is up to the task. Carrillo will begin his Direct Commissioned Officer Course (DCC) with Phase I, a rigorous six-week course in leadership and tactics at Fort Benning, Ga. DCC is designed to challenge new Army officers mentally and physically in the classroom and field.

The second phase is a ten-and-a-half week academic course at the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville, Va. Judge Advocates receive classroom instruction on the organization, function, and mission of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, as well as an overview of the practice of law in the U.S. Army. The course is designed to prepare judge advocates for their first 3 years of practice in the JAG Corps.

Maj. Michael Rey, deputy staff judge advocate for the 1st MSC expressed his confidence in Carrillo and his ability to become a great JAG officer.  “I did not have the opportunity of being enlisted,” said Rey.

“Throughout the years in service, I have experienced that those officers that have been enlisted tend to be better when it comes to taking care of the welfare and needs of their soldiers, they understand their ‘language’, they understand their problems, since the empathy is on a higher level.”

Judge Advocates are responsible for offering legal support that involves military operations. They primarily focus on the areas of criminal law, legal assistance, civil/administrative law, labor/employment law, international/operational law, intelligence law, and contract/fiscal law.

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