Army Couple Sees American Dream Play Out in High-Tech Careers

By U.S. Army CIO/G-6July 9, 2015

High-Tech Army Couple
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Well Deserved
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New Beginnings
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Washington, DC (May 29, 2015) -- Despite being avid technologists, Chief Warrant Officer Five Rick Pina and his wife, Maj. Isabella Pina, believe people are still the key to a successful Army career. They both said so in remarks at their retirement ceremony on May 29, 2015.

Never ones to follow the beaten path, the Pinas took the unusual step of retiring in a single ceremony hosted by Lt. Gen. Robert S. Ferrell, the Army Chief Information Officer G-6 (CIO/G-6). Ferrell noted the couple's many accomplishments during their combined 46 years of service but mostly paid homage to their character.

"Days like today…especially like today are built on the strength of families," said Ferrell. "But it's hard to know where to begin when the husband and the wife were both in uniform, were both so integral to the other's success."

In 2010, CW5 Pina became the first warrant officer in U.S. Army history to serve as the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the Army CIO/G-6. As CTO, CW5 Pina played a major role in nearly every tactical, operational and enterprise-level decision related to command, control, communications and computers that the Army has made since then. He served as the key integrator and technical advisor to both the CIO/G-6 and the Army's most senior military and civilian leaders on service-wide network priorities to include: mission command, brigade modernization, en route communications, network modernization, cloud computing strategies, the Commander's Risk Reduction Dashboard, acquisition and fielding of commercial hardware and software solutions, the Army's Network Integration Evaluations and capability set fielding efforts, and the development of Unified Capabilities. CW5 Pina was also the primary technical lead for the development of the Army Network Campaign Plan -- an effort that will guide the design, implementation, operation and sustainment of the Army's networks through FY-21. After just a few weeks in the job, Pina knew he wanted to permanently establish the CTO position for senior warrant officers in the Signal Corps.

"Future generations of Soldiers may not know his name but he will be there with them in the leaders he helped to grow and the technology he helped put in their hands," said Ferrell.

CW5 Pina was born in Brooklyn but just shortly after his mother had emigrated from the Dominican Republic. His wife immigrated to the United States in 1992 from Dominica. CW5 Pina spoke about the couple's unlikely path. "It wasn't supposed to happen this way," he said. "When you start from where we started, this doesn't happen. The only place in the world it does is in America," he added. "That's why the U.S. is still the symbol of hope for millions around the world."

"Isabella leaves an equally, perhaps even more, powerful legacy," said Ferrell of Major Pina. She enlisted in the Army in 1994 and was selected for the Army Medical Department Enlisted Commissioning Program in 1998. She graduated from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in 2004, was commissioned and began her nursing career. In 2007, she specialized in perioperative nursing and, in 2009, she deployed to Iraq to serve in a combat support hospital. In 2010, she was assigned to Fort Belvoir, Va., as the robotic surgery coordinator.

"She created from scratch the revolutionary robotic surgery program at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. She procured the equipment, she selected the staff and she designed the training program, preparing more than 50 personnel in multiple specialties. That is a Herculean effort and Isabella pulled it off flawlessly," said Ferrell.

When asked what was next on the horizon, CW5 Pina quipped, "I think we've earned a break." Major Pina added, "But not too long."

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