By Sgt. 1st Class Brian HamiltonOctober 27, 2015
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - With close to 198,000 Soldiers in the Army Reserve today, your chances of ever being promoted into one of the Army Reserves' 115 general officer authorizations is less than a percent of a percent.
But when you're Richard Sele, those are good odds to have!
On Oct. 25, 2015, during a ceremony held at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, hosted by Maj. Gen. Daniel Ammerman, United States Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command commanding general, Sele became the Army Reserve's newest Brigadier General. He takes over for Brig. Gen. A. Ray Royalty as deputy commanding general of the 108th Training Command (IET), headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.
"When I think back to where this all started, it's kind of surreal." Sele said. "Way back when I was an enlisted guy in Basic Training, I made trainee of the cycle at Fort Leonard Wood and as trainee of the cycle you got to post the colors during graduation. I remember coming off the stage after the ceremony and my buddy said 'God you looked like a little General standing there' and here I am."
Sele, a native New Yorker, first enlisted into the Army in 1983 as an enlisted interrogator and Serbo-Croatian linguist. He later earned his degree at the University of North Carolina- Greensboro and was in the ROTC program at the University of North Carolina A&T. He commissioned in 1987 and went on to serve as a liaison officer to the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment during Operation Desert Storm.
He became an Active Guard and Reserve Soldier with the Army Reserve in 1997 bouncing between civil affairs and nontraditional duty assignments such as recruiting and even served a stint as a Congressional Fellow for Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.).
"What I learned from that assignment is that Congress takes their oversight responsibility very seriously and I was impressed with the depth of knowledge they have on defense issues and the number of factors they have to consider in their decisions," Sele said.
When Sele was notified of his selection to General Officer, he also learned that one of the stipulations of the position was that he would have to come off of the AGR program to accept it.
"It was a big decision. It was really a leap of faith. Here I was fully employed and engaged and have been for a long time now. Then this assignment came along and I was left wondering what I would do as a civilian. I had a feeling things would work out, so I took that leap and thankfully things have worked out."
He currently works as a contractor at the U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, where he works to integrate agencies outside scope of the Department of Defense, such as the FBI, into Special Operations training missions.
Sele, who commanded the 304th Civil Affairs Brigade when he was notified of the assignment at the 108th said he was excited to get the job at a training command.
"When I found out this was a unit with drill sergeants, I was even more excited," Sele said. "What I found so rewarding about my job in the recruiting battalion at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania was that I was part of that effort to bring people off of the streets to make that very first big decision, and what I really think is the biggest decision they will ever have to make in their lives."
"So I have helped bring them into the military and now I get to be a part of that team that will mold and shape these guys into Soldiers. I still remember my two drill sergeants, Sgt. Hall and Sgt. Whitner. I'll never forget them and the impact they had on my life."
As for his plans with his new job as 108th deputy commander, Sele says he looks forward to helping expand the role of the 108th into Security Assistance missions.
"This is a phenomenal unit with an incredible drill sergeant mission, but I want to take it to the next level. I can't think of a better role model to put out there to young troops than our drill sergeants. But we also have a small security mission as well and we want to build on that piece of it."
Having beaten the odds, if you're a betting man, bet on Sele.