Staying Army Reserve
“I originally joined the Army Reserve for college money. I didn’t think my parents would be able to afford it for me, so I knew I needed to do something to pay for it myself. Participating in basic training changed why I was in the Army though. I became proud to be a part of our country’s military force and it felt good to be a part of something bigger than myself. After my deployment, I had a new pride to be in the Army. I had helped fight for our country and preserve the freedoms that civilians enjoy. I knew personally, where the red comes from on our flag, the blood of fallen soldiers.”
I have experienced combat first hand, and have seen the blood spilled for our country. The flag has a new meaning to me and I believe that if you are able to serve, it is your obligation. The people who are unable to join the military would give anything to be able to, so cherish the ability to serve and serve well. Our citizens need somebody to work for them, and we can.”
Staff Sgt. Ryan M. Palomba
I enlisted into the United States Military on 24 July 2002, as a 91B, Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic. Initially I entered the Military mainly for patriotism; however, the college benefits and a free pen were also reasons behind my decision. I earned another MOS of 79V, Army Reserve Career Counselor, which is the position that I am currently assigned to with Army Reserve Careers Division, 10th Battalion, Area 3. My responsibilities include reenlisting Army Reserve Soldiers, ensuring Soldiers are happy with unit and current situations, referring Soldiers for Recruiter, Warrant Officer, and Officer Direct Commission, assisting Soldiers with the use of benefits, and educating Soldiers on their incentives and benefits.
I was deployed to Iraq in 2005 as an 88M, truck driver, logging over 8,000 miles behind the wheel. We transported everything from live explosives, reactive armor, and weapons found in caches, to water, vehicles, and other supplies. Just about the only things we didn’t haul were people and fuel. We deployed with 260 Soldiers in the unit I was assigned to and had only 1 potentially life threatening injury logged.
My most memorable moment while deployed was when I was taking trash to the dumpster from my room on our base, and I heard a loud crash and explosion. A rocket landed about 100 yards from where I was standing. Even though I had been attacked while driving out on the roads, this was eye-opening. It took away the false sense of security I had thinking that when I was inside the wire, or on the base, I was safe. It made me realize even more that I was in a combat zone and anything could happen at any time.
Another memorable experience was when I met a man who had just finished voting. He showed me his purple dyed finger with pride and thanked me for being able to vote. He had said that without us being there to help them, he never would have had the opportunity. That experience as well as other encounters with locals, gave me the feeling that the citizens of Iraq were really happy that we were there assisting in freeing them from the slavery that they had been living in.
My military awards include: Wheeled Vehicle Driver Badge, Mechanic Badge, Combat Action Badge, Career Counselor Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal (2 awards), National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Armed Formed Reserve Medal with M Device, NCO Professional Development Ribbon with numeral 2.
I was born in Lansing, MI, and raised in Eaton Rapids, MI. I graduated from Eaton Rapids High School 8 June 2003. I am currently attending the University of Michigan, Flint Campus, working towards obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree of Business Administration in Operations Management, with an expected graduation date of May 2012.
I work for the State of Michigan in the Records Center. My job requires me to communicate effectively with people requesting records through email and phone calls. This helps me communicate with Soldiers that I do not know or need to contact for the first time. It has allowed me to become more comfortable contacting people without any prior introductions.
I am married to Andrea Palomba who is a stay at home Mom to our daughter who is 15 months old. My wife and I both are huge fans of Michigan State football and basketball. We are also season pass holders for a broadway series theatre, which helps us keep our promise of a guaranteed date night. I don’t have much spare time. I work full-time, go to school full-time, and have a family. I mostly spend any free time I do have with my daughter.