GALLUP, N.M.--Some people say that Army Reservists have an upper hand when it comes to their Military Occupation Specialty because of similar experience in their civilian careers.

For two Soldiers of 716th Engineer Company, 368th Engineer Battalion, 302nd Engineer Brigade, it's all in a day's work, as they gathered here for their two weeks of annual training, Sept. 1.

Spc. Roberto T. Ruden-McDonough is both a plumber and electrician as a Soldier and has worked in finish carpentry for the past 15 years as a civilian. On the other hand, Spc. Solomon E. P. Lapell is the platoon medic and has built homes for 10 years on the civilian side.

Their valuable experience, both military and civilian, not only helped to expedite mission complete for the team, but also provided an opportunity to share knowledge and train less experienced Soldiers.

Armed with a mission to complete three modular homes for impoverished families living on a Navajo reservation, failure was not an option and the two were instrumental in getting the job done.

Humanitarian missions such as this one play an integral role in the relationship between the Army and the citizens it serves and protects. The Soldiers were excited to support their local community and to help the less fortunate.

One highlight for the platoon is having the chance to meet a local family that benefited from their hard work.

"I have done humanity missions before and this one is one of the better ones. The fact that we can make a difference in one family's life makes it all worth it," said Lapell.

"Honestly, I feel this is the first ECT that I really made a difference and contributed to helping out a culture that is poverty stricken. I believe it's a great thing being out here and I have never been more motivated to complete a project," added Ruden- McDonough.

"I feel the Soldiers really came together and were very eager to learn anything they needed to complete the mission," said Ruden-McDonough. "I have never been in a civilian construction crew that were as motivated as my platoon."

Both Lapell and Ruden-McDonough also led the way in developing and mentoring 22 others in their platoon.

Page last updated Wed September 19th, 2012 at 02:10