OTF Soldier Story for September 21, 2009 - Warrant Officer Abelardo Villarreal, Jr.
Current Unit: G2 US Army South
Current Position: All-Source Intelligence Analyst Officer
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Hometown: McAllen, Texas
Years of Service: 12
Warrant Officer Abelardo Villarreal, Jr. was at a crossroads when he decided that a career in the Army might provide the opportunity he'd been looking for. Having grown up in a low-income neighborhood, Villarreal wanted to give his family more than he had, but knew his job as a bank teller wouldn't give him that opportunity. He enlisted in the Army with the hopes of expanding his options and supporting his family. After more than a decade of service and two deployments to Iraq, he is certain that enlisting was one of the wisest decisions he's ever made, and he credits the Army with taking care of his family and honing his leadership skills.
"I love the Army because it has made me financially independent, and it's taken care of me and my family. It was the best thing I ever did," says Villarreal, who says he plans to continue serving for many more years to come.
Villarreal is committed to helping other Hispanic teenagers and young adults realize their full potential, both as Soldiers and citizens. The Soldier often volunteers to speak at local schools to share how the Army changed his life. He believes it is important for them to hear about the significant role Hispanics play in the military.
"I want everyone to know that Hispanics make up a tenth of the military, and that we are making a big difference everyday," says Villarreal. "An Army experience is a great thing. I want them to know that, and I hope some of them will follow my path to enlist."
Many of the young adults Villarreal talks to remind him of the Soldiers he led in theater. During his most recent deployment to Mosul, Iraq in 2006-2007, he served as the Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge, and led 15 Soldiers on various intelligence missions related to combating Al Qaeda leaders and insurgents. The intelligence operations he supported inspired the master sergeant to enroll in Warrant Officer Candidate School to pursue qualifications in intelligence.
Villarreal is currently assigned to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where he serves as an All-Source Intelligence Analyst Officer. He is grateful for the support his wife and daughters, Jordan (10) and Maya (1) have provided him throughout his deployments. The Soldier plans to start classes at Baylor University in the spring.