OTF Soldier Story for January 11, 2010 - 1st Lt. Tim Keegan
Current Unit: 2500th Military Intelligence Group
Current Position: Military Intelligence Officer
Component: Army Reserve
Current Location: Miami, Fla.
Hometown: Miami, Fla.
Years of Service: 3
With experience in both the civilian and private sector, 1st Lt. Tim Keegan served for three years as a U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador before serving in uniform. When he joined the Army with more than two decades of professional credentials, Keegan was able to utilize the breadth of his experience and put his skills to good use during a deployment to Afghanistan.
The U.S. Army Reserve (USAR) Ambassador Program charges qualified civilians to educate the public, community leaders and elected officials about the capabilities and values of the Army Reserve and the Soldiers who live and work in their communities. The Ambassadors, who are the civilian equivalent of a two-star general, are appointed by the Chief of the Army Reserve.
"I had been a USAR Ambassador for three years and with every event and meeting that I attended, I became more and more impressed with the quality, dedication and camaraderie of the men and women of the Army Reserve. As a result, I too wanted to experience the pride that comes from serving in uniform in support of a greater good," said Keegan, who obtained an age waiver when the maximum was raised to 42.
Attending Military Intelligence Officer Basic Course at age 44, Keegan was often surrounded by peers 20 years his junior. However, the disparity in age served a greater purpose for Keegan, as he became a mentor to the younger officers in his class. Through the mentorship he provided, Keegan formed lasting friendships with many of these younger Officers that extend beyond the military.
While deployed from February to August 2009, Keegan was responsible for filling multiple roles within the Joint Intelligence Operations Center in Kabul, Afghanistan. As a Military Intelligence Officer, he was responsible for sharing intelligence information between coalition partners. In addition, Keegan also coordinated Information Operations on behalf of the Tri-partite Joint Intelligence Operations Center in conjunction with the Pakistani and Afghan military.
The 48-year-old lieutenant admits that due to his age and prior civilian experience, he was able to work closely alongside senior commanding officers while in Afghanistan, something that most lieutenants do not have the opportunity to do.
"Due to my civilian background and experience, I was given a certain amount of latitude to do what needed to be done without excessive supervision. With age generally comes wisdom; I had to demonstrate that I was capable, which in turn generated confidence and trust with my superiors," said Keegan.
The highlight of Keegan's six-month deployment, however, was his involvement in Operation Firestarter, a cooperative effort between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Afghan Ministry of the Interior in support of their efforts to reduce drug production and trafficking in Afghanistan. As a result of the operation, a heroin lab capable of producing large amounts of heroin was seized and destroyed.
"The experience of participating in an air assault and taking newly-trained Afghan Soldiers into a deadly combat zone was both exhilarating and rewarding. There was a great sense of accomplishment by all those who participated," he said.
Proud to serve as a Reservist, Keegan believes that the Army Reserve fills an important gap between military needs and the "skills-rich" experience earned every day in the civilian workplace.
"No single organization can provide the vast array of skills that the Army Reserve is capable of providing in support of our nation's military objectives. It is the broad real world experiences that our USAR members provide that bridge the unique strengths of the full-time military and their civilian counterparts," Keegan said.
Keegan is a 1985 graduate of the Florida State University and prior to serving in uniform, has held a number of elected and appointed offices within Florida. He is presently the Chairman of the Miami-Dade County, Biscayne Shores Community Council and resides in Miami, Florida with his wife.