By Eric Connor, 81st Regional Support Command Public Affairs OfficeMay 22, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- It has been highlighted on numerous occasions how Army Reserve Soldiers bring with them a unique set of skills that are not always readily available in the active duty ranks.
As a pathologist, newly-promoted Col. Ronald F. Giffler is a part of that fabric.
Giffler is a pathologist in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and also serves as a reservist and a deputy command surgeon for the 81st Regional Support Command at Fort Jackson, S.C.
As a busy physician, Giffler is responsible for the medical examination of patient specimens and tissues, focusing on the proper diagnosis of diseases, which includes early detection of cancer. He's also responsible for the accuracy of laboratory tests.
Giffler has his own practice and is president and CEO of his medical group, which provides medical services to nine area hospitals in Fort Lauderdale. He also serves as treasurer for the Florida Medical Association.
That knowledge and experience translates into a win-win for the 81st RSC.
"Working in the surgeon's office (during battle assembly), I'm responsible for medical readiness, reviewing a lot of profiles, medical board packages and I do all the incapacitation board cases…and I have worked in Army hospitals during annual training doing what I do as a civilian," said Giffler.
While that's a typical drill weekend for him, the unit's May battle assembly was anything but typical for Giffler as the medical doctor was promoted to the rank of colonel.
"I'm very honored to get promoted, it's really a special day," said Giffler.
Maj. Gen. Gill P. Beck, 81st RSC commanding general, promoted Giffler, calling it a momentous occasion.
"I want everyone to understand that achieving the rank of colonel is a major accomplishment," said Beck.
The ceremony was also a time for Giffler to reflect. Unlike most Soldiers in the Army Reserve, he joined the military after the age of 50. He did it out of a sense of duty and service.
"I (believe), for me, that everyone should serve their country for a period of time so I thought I would join before it was too late."
Giffler, 65, has been a reservist for 11 years; joining the 81st RSC in 2007. The New York City native and Medical School of Virginia graduate plans to continue providing his expertise to the 81st and the Army Reserve; calling it a ride that still gives him thrills.
"I enjoy it. I like it here, I enjoy the fact that the unit is always helping."