Sometimes the best part about leaving is actually coming home. Five Army Reserve Career Counselors just recently returned from year-long deployments and were recognized for their service during the ATW by Major General Sholar, Deputy Commanding Genearl, U.S. Army Reserve Command.
SFC James Lord, SFC Lonnie Lape, SFC Katherine Klaffka, SFC Donald Gray and SFC Ronald Bronaugh arrived back home on 10 November, 2009 after serving as Career Counselors in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. They were part of a 15 Soldier team scattered across Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan that provided re-enlistment and counseling support to thousands of Army Reserve Soldiers.
The Soldiers briefly talked about their experiences and most memorable re-enlistment ceremonies. One had a husband and wife reenlist together in Djibouti, Africa. Another watched in awe as Soldiers reenlisted on top of a building while a MEDEVAC helicopter was landing nearby, unloading wounded Soldiers. All of the Soldiers enjoyed the unique opportunity of talking with hundreds of Soldiers on a daily basis and directly impacting their lives.
The Career Counselor team is a volunteer force of Soldiers assigned to the Army Reserve Careers Division. The few available slots are highly coveted and selection is based on performance and knowledge. Most of the Career Counselors volunteering do so so they can relate to the Soldiers they counsel and mentor at their local units.
“I wanted to deploy for many reasons,” said SFC Lape. “But the main reason being I felt as a Career Counselor we should be deploying as often as our Soldiers do so we can better relate.”
As part of the Welcome Home Warrior Citizen program, all Army Reserve Soldiers deployed in support of overseas contingency operations are recognized for their service upon returning home. Each Soldier receives a Warrior Citizen flag, a lapel pin set, a Global War on Terrorism commemorative coin, and an encased U.S. flag which has a plate that reads: In appreciation for your faithful military service. Your selfless sacrifices and excellent performance of duty are reflective of the Army’s Warrior Ethos. Your Patriotic service as a true “Warrior Citizen” will be never be forgotten. The inscription is signed by Lt. General Jack C. Stultz, Chief, Army Reserve.