Operation Tribute to Freedom

Faces From the Front for April 19, 2010 - Sgt. John Garcia

Sergeant John Garcia

Current Unit: 158th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
Current Position: Evaluations Non-Commissioned Officer
Component: Arizona National Guard
Current Location: Kandahar Air Field, Afghanistan
Hometown: Cave Creek, Ariz.
Years of Service: 7

Sgt. John Garcia, soon to be a father of six, draws from his experiences as a parent to encourage his fellow Soldiers to realize their full potential. As a dad, Garcia encourages his children to always do their best, and as an evaluations non-commissioned officer (NCO) serving in Afghanistan, he does the same for his Soldiers as they complete assessments for each of the Soldiers under their purview. By encouraging each Soldier’s chain of command to complete the assessments to the best of their ability, Garcia ensures that each Soldier goes through a complete, fair and thorough evaluation process, which gauges their progress over the past year and ultimately determines whether promotions are awarded for the Soldiers.

"I work to ensure that each service member's evaluation meets or exceeds the Army standard," Garcia explained.

Garcia reviews the written evaluations and makes certain that accurate grammar and Army style sentence structure are used. He also makes sure that the text of each Soldier's evaluation covers everything the Soldier has worked on during the past year and fits within the required amount of space.

“I make sure that the Soldier’s chain of command touches on everything the Soldier has accomplished in their assessment,” Garcia explained. "Summarizing all that a service member does in an entire year on the front and back of one piece of paper is truly an art."

Garcia knows that his work is extremely important to his fellow Soldiers.

"It makes a huge impact on the moral, motivation and career of each service member," Garcia said. "It is not to be taken lightly!"

While Garcia is enjoying his current work, he looks forward to returning to his service with the Arizona National Guard Honor Guard after this deployment. As a member of the Honor Guard, Garcia represents the Arizona National Guard at ceremonial functions, including the rendering of military funeral honors.

"I was given the opportunity to serve as a member of the Honor Guard a few years after joining the Army," Garcia said. "I saw this as a great way of serving other members of the military and their families."

Now after a few years of service, Garcia still loves being a member of the Arizona National Guard Honor Guard.

"Being an Honor Guard member is an incredible experience. You come to know the lives of those who have fallen and their dedication to ensuring the freedoms we enjoy. Rendering Honors to those who have given life, limb, mind, heart and soul to provide our freedom is more than a passion," Garcia explained.

"In presenting the folded flag, that represents one's honorable and faithful service to the next of kin, we are not only bringing credit to the service member, but also the family that shared the same pain and sacrifice. Rarely do you know the person you present to, but as you look in their eyes and share a few short words you experience the closure and healing of a lifetime; it is an awesome and surreal moment."

This week, Garcia will travel home to spend two weeks of leave with his wife, who is preparing to give birth to their sixth child. He hopes to be present for the birth.

Garcia will then finish the remainder of his deployment in Afghanistan, and return to Cave Creek, Ariz., this fall. He plans to continue his civilian career as a realtor and looks forward to spending time with his family.

"I plan on spending a full month soaking in the love of my family. I miss my wife and children tremendously," Garcia said.

Telling the Army Story: Community Relations

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