Standing Up for Troops
Reserve 1st Sgt. Mickey Hines of the 326th Chemical Company is proud to be the Reserve recipient of this yearAca,!a,,cs 1st Sgt. John Ordway Leadership Award.

Any way you look at it, Reserve 1st Sgt. Mickey Hines seems to be in the business of protecting the public.

If he's not serving as the first sergeant for the 326th Chemical Company, headquartered on Patton Road, then he is working as a warrant officer for the Florence Police Department.

For more than 20 years, the two jobs have complimented each other - things learned on Reserve duty make him a better police officer, things learned as a police officer make him a better Reserve Soldier.

And that's the way this 2009 Reserve recipient of the 1st Sgt. John Ordway Leadership Award likes it.

"Both jobs require you to swear to protect, just in different ways," he said. "The training and experience of both jobs work together to make me a better police officer and a better Soldier."

In his job as a first sergeant, Hines oversees 187 Soldiers assigned to the 326th.

"Usually the platoon sergeants take care of personal type problems," he said. "But I hold formations, make sure everyone is accountable and provide pertinent information to the troops. I know my troops and they know me."

Hines joined the military more than 28 years ago. He first joined the Alabama Army National Guard, serving in that organization for 18 years. In 1999, he decided to join the Reserves because of the opportunity it provided to be a chemical instructor.

At the same time, Hines was a police officer in Florence, where he has served for more than 20 years.

"I was only 17 when I joined the National Guard's 115th Signal Battalion in Florence," he said. "My mom wasn't too keen about it. But she signed for me anyway.

"My older brother was in the National Guard. He talked me into seeing a recruiter. And when I went to see the recruiter, I was signed up before I knew it. But I don't regret any of it."

He went to basic training between his junior and senior years in high school. It was the beginning of a military association that helped him grow up.

"It helped me mature a whole lot because it taught me about taking responsibility," he said. "The military has definitely helped me be a better police officer, husband and father."

Although his unit has been prepared twice for deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom, it has been stood down both times. But Hines' son, National Guard Spc. Brandon Hines, has served in Iraq with the 203rd Engineering Battalion of Dothan. The deployment was made more difficult because Brandon Hines and his wife had a newborn baby at the time.

"My wife, Sheila, and I were concerned when he was on deployment," Hines said. "But we weren't worried. We are Christians and we were completely at peace that he would come back to us."

In many ways, his job as first sergeant is about information and communications, particularly when the question often is: Are we going to deploy'

"As a first sergeant, you have to realize that people really care about their families," he said. "So, you have to make sure to keep them informed. You have to be honest and straightforward with them.

"We also really push to make sure our Soldiers are physically fit. We make sure they're fed, they're paid and they're informed. As long as you keep those things done, they will have your back regardless of what happens."

Although Hines has enough years of service to retire, he is not making any such plans. In fact, he is considering seeking a promotion to sergeant major.

"I will stay in until they put me out or I get tired of it or don't like it anymore," he said.

"Right now, I love it. I love the people. I love the training. In 28 years of the military I've gotten to meet and work with people from all over the world, in all walks of life, in all careers. The military is one big melting pot where people come together to make a team. It is that team that I love."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16