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Operation Tribute to Freedom

OTF Soldier Story for June 29, 2009 - Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reese

Sergeant First Class Brian Reese

Current Unit: 82nd Airborne Division
Current Position: Brigade S-3 Air NCOIC
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Fort Bragg, N.C.
Hometown: Jackson, Miss.
Years of Service: 10

A truly patriotic family, the Reese family has repeatedly answered the call to serve one's country, generation after generation. The fifth in his family to serve, Sgt. 1st Class Brian Reese is the latest Noncommissioned Officer in what has become a longstanding tradition of NCOs in his family, including his grandfathers, father, and older brother. Reese enlisted just months after his father, who served as an NCO for 22 years and retired at the rank of sergeant first class, and his brother, a sergeant, left the Army. It was their service that inspired him to enlist. Now with five deployments to his credit and numerous awards for his service, the father of three sons is preparing for another deployment. Much as his father and brother's service inspired him, he hopes that his example inspires his own sons to find a way to give back to their country and perhaps answer their own call to duty one day.

Having deployed multiple times to the Middle East, Reese feels that his most recent deployment to Afghanistan in 2007-2008 was the most rewarding. As a platoon sergeant for a Theater Tactical Force unit, Reese and his unit traveled throughout southern Afghanistan to support other units on combat missions directly related to eliminating Taliban forces.

On December 7, 2007 while in Musa Qal'eh, a city in southwest Afghanistan, Reese's platoon was ambushed by Taliban forces in the middle of the night. As the platoon leader, Reese led his Soldiers while they were under direct enemy fire that lasted more than 72 grueling hours. Reflecting on the incident, Reese says that as a leader, he was proud of his Soldiers for doing what they needed to do in the face of conflict. In recognition of their bravery, Reese's platoon earned five Bronze Stars for Valor, four Bronze Star Medals, eight Purple Hearts, and 12 Army Commendation Medals for Valor. For his leadership during the incident, Reese was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Valor and as the result of minor injuries sustained during the battle, he received the Purple Heart Medal.

A team player, Reese prefers to focus not on his individual achievements, but the role he plays within his unit. As an NCO, Reese says he has the "greatest job in the world" and values the opportunity to lead Soldiers on the battlefield and train them to become the next group of NCOs. He adds that as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, he is proud to be a Soldier in such a historic unit.

Reese and his wife, Claudia, live near Fort Bragg, N.C. with their three children, Joshua (6), Daniel (2) and Matthew (1). Reese and Claudia met when they were both stationed in Hawaii while on active duty, and although she no longer serves in the Army, Reese says her previous military service allows her understand what he is going through as a Soldier. For his sons, Reese is hopeful that they will become fourth-generation NCOs, but he wants them to make the decision for themselves when they are old enough. In the immediate future, however, Reese is preparing to deploy to Afghanistan later this summer. It will be his sixth combat deployment and his third to Afghanistan.

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