Top Highlights of my Army Career

I had a great Army career spanning 15+ years in the Army, Army Reserves and Army National Guard, both as an enlisted man and officer.  Listed below, I want to share some of the highlights in my career in chronological order.

1.       Serving in the Old Guard

My first assignment in the Army was with the Old Guard (3rd US Infantry Regiment).  This is a very prestigious unit that is affiliated with the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, Pershing’s Own (Army Band), the Presidential Salute Battery, etc.  I spent 2+ years in the Old Guard working in the S3 Shop as an Admin Assistant.  Participating in many high profile missions (funerals, inaugurations, etc) really opened my eyes to all the things the Army does.  While I didn’t really appreciate the experience while I was there, looking back it was very beneficial to me.  I left the Old Guard when I was selected for the Green to Gold Program.

2.       Earning my College Degrees

To the best of my knowledge I am the first one in my family tree to earn my four year Bachelor’s degree.  The Army also paid for my Associate and Master’s Degree.  The education I received in college was great.  It helped make me who I am today.  I’m not sure if I ever would have earned a degree if I hadn’t joined the Army.

3.       Earning my Commission

I was very proud to earn my commission from Clarkson R.O.T.C. in upstate New York.  To be quite frank, I was a horrible cadet.  My priorities were beer and women and not much else.  Despite that, I still worked hard and earned my commission.  I’m very proud of that. And I’m glad the cadre could see my potential and overlook some of my flaws at the given time.

4.       Deploying to Iraq

I deployed to Iraq during OIF1 in early 2003.  I had just submitted my officer resignation to the Army when the Stop Loss program kicked in.  I was a bit pissed off about that at the time, but going to Iraq really opened my eyes about the “rest of the world.”  To this day I am forever grateful for the freedoms and luxuries I have as an American.  I will never take those for granted.  I’m also proud to have my combat patch and combat veteran status.  Going to war made me a better American.

5.       Serving in the Militia

In May 2005 I joined the Maryland Army National Guard.  I spent six years with the MDARNG and really enjoyed the experience.  In fact, my time as a part-time Soldier was much more fulfilling and fun than my time as an Active Duty Soldier and Officer.  I’m proud to be a product of such a proud tradition: the militia.

6.       Deploying to Kosovo

I really didn’t enjoy my Kosovo deployment at the time.  It was almost 17 months long and I wasn’t a big fan of our mission over there.  But I’m glad I went.  The opportunity allowed me to travel to places I otherwise would have never gone (Germany, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Hungary).  I also met some great people and served with some great Soldiers.  I also paid off some debt and figured out my life’s purpose.

7.       Company Command

Company Command was easily the highlight of my career.  I got to spend 24 months leading a great company, part of an Infantry Battalion.  Were there challenges?  You bet.  Did I ever get frustrated?  You bet.  But nothing else that I did in the military was even 50% as fulfilling as my time in Company Command.

8.       Traveling to 20+ Countries

Another perk of my military service was the travel.  I haven’t actually counted it out, but I know I’ve been to more than 20 countries in my adult life, all thanks to Uncle Sam.  Being a guy from small town Maine, this is no small feat.  I feel the travel experience gave me a different perspective about life, freedom and work.

9.       Working with People from All Walks of Life

Another highlight of my Army career was working with people from all walks of life.  I grew up in primarily white town and state.  I had very little interaction with minorities or different cultures until I joined the military.  I quickly realized that the Army is one big melting pot of people from every walk of life.  I learned a lot about new cultures and interacted with people (and cultures) I never would have done so otherwise.  That experience gave me a better perspective and made me a better person.

As you can see, my Army experience was very positive.  It helped make me a better man, leader and American.  Thanks for reading the highlights of my Army career.  I’d love to hear from you.  What are you most proud of in your career?  Leave a comment to let us know.

If you have any questions, you can ask those here too.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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7 thoughts on “Top Highlights of my Army Career”

  1. I do not think that I know anyone else who has traveled to twenty different countries. I would be interested in knowing which was your favorite, and why. While I truly believe in the value of traditional education, I also believe that travel and exposure to different cultures and people is an invaluable, essential education also. Not only does it teach one to have an understanding of and be more tolerant (hopefully) of other cultures, but as you mentioned, it also teaches some of us to be more appreciative of what we have here at home.

  2. Candace Ginestar

    Chuck, it sounds like the Army has given you a lot to be thankful for – but also, you have worked HARD for all you have gotten! I am thankful to know you! I should do a 10 year review and look at the last decade of service, and then do one at 20. I bet it will be interesting to see.

  3. Amy Skalicky

    Travelled to 20 different countries? That’s awesome! It’s clear you really loved your the Company Command best. The most rewarding part of my career thus far, like you, has been working with people from all walks of life and the relationships I built. I love people, and that’s been a wonderful part of anything I have done. I also appreciate the varied experience and learning opportunites, for my work experience has been significantly more educational than any formal education or training I have received.

    1. Candace Ginestar

      Amy, it’s crazy to think about with traveling in the Army. I haven’t gone to a ton of countries because of the Army, but I have seen more of the United States than I would have had I never joined. I think that part is pretty cool, because it’s great to see more of my own country.

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