Hispanic Senior NCO serves as a role model
September 17, 2012
Fort Buchanan, PR- Command Sgt. Maj. René Rivera, 1st Mission Support Command, US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, top noncommissioned officer, is a living example of how far determination and hard work can take a person's life.
Born and raised at the Mediania Alta neighborhood in the town of Loiza, one of the poorest districts in the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, Rivera's personal story is one of resilience.
As a boy, Rivera used to fish, and collect coconuts in order to have some money.
"We were very poor. My dad was a sugar cane collector. He always told to me that I had to achieve more than him," said Rivera.
The Command Sgt. Maj. of the largest federal US Army command in the Caribbean explains that he saw in the Army an opportunity to progress and a way to learn English.
"I bought a book of basic English at the downtown pharmacy. I studied it every day in order to be able to pass the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery," added Rivera.
"I graduated from the Carlos Escobar Lopez high school on 29 May 1981. On 3 June 1981 I was already in an airplane, traveling towards basic training. I had never before left my hometown of Loiza," said an emotional Rivera.
Rivera has served in various assignments throughout his military career including Combat Signaler with the 5th Special Forces Group in Fort Bragg, Team Leader with the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) England, United Kingdom and Garrison Command Sergeant Major at Contingency Operating Base (COB) Speicher Tikrit, Iraq among other important assignments.
He also holds a Master degree in Human Resources Development from Webster University in St. Loius and a Master's Certificate in Organizational Leadership from Villanova University, FL.
"To the new generations, I want to say that yes, there is a chance to overcome poverty. I know sometimes one can think that there is no hope and that you would have to accept your circumstances. No. I am living example that if someone has the determination and the genuine will to rise above the circumstances, it is possible to defeat poverty," added Rivera, who now serves as a role model to thousands of soldiers in the Caribbean basin.
Rivera was selected as the top noncommissioned officer in the US Army Reserve-Puerto Rico on April 2011.