RIO PIEDRAS, PUERTO RICO- Brig. Gen Dustin A. Shultz, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Reserve 1st Mission Support Command, was the guest speaker at the Rio Piedras Rotary Club, during the club's weekly meeting, April 3.
During her speech, Shultz described the relevancy of America's Army Reserve in Puerto Rico, and the difference between the Army Reserve and the National Guard.
"Our main mission as a federal force is to sustain the readiness of our Soldiers and equipment, to deploy anytime, anywhere in support of the needs of the Nation," said Shultz.
The senior federal Army officer in the Caribbean also explained how the Army Reserve in Puerto Rico made history, through the mobilization of thousands of Soldiers as part of Defense Support to Civil Authorities operations.
"On September 20, 2017, our immediate mission was transformed. After the federal declaration of emergency, our command mobilized approximately 2,000 Soldiers, not to deploy to another country, but to stay in Puerto Rico and assist local communities," added Shultz.
According to Shultz, the Army Reserve made a huge impact in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, by delivering half a million gallons of diesel, millions of bottles of water and meals ready to eat, opening over 125 miles of roads in the mountains of the island, purifying over 700,000 gallons of water and providing health services to over 12,000 patients, substantially more patients than the ones seen at the USNS Comfort during the same period.
"The Army Reserve in Puerto Rico provided all these great capabilities to the service of U.S. Citizens in the island, while serving the needs of the nation with hundreds of other Soldiers from this command deployed to the Middle East, Cuba and other parts of the world, as part of our regular mission," added Shultz.
Shultz, who is the first female commanding general in charge of the Army Reserve in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, ended her presentation thanking the community for their undivided support.
"Even though the civil authorities are still working hard to complete the recovery, as Soldiers we must be grateful for the great opportunity of serving the local community in times of need. We must thank our families because their support makes us able to wear the uniform and give our best every day. We must also thank organizations like the Rotary Club. With your support you give us the energy we need to fulfill our mission here in Puerto Rico, or anywhere around the globe," stated Shultz.
The members of the community were impressed with Shultz' presentation.
"This was excellent. I saw all the members paying close attention to General Shultz. This is impressive," said Eric M. Cardona, President of the Rotary Club House Committee.
"The job the Army Reserve did during the emergency was exceptional. You certainly made the difference. Thanks for all you do," added Cardona.
Meanwhile, the Rio Piedras Rotary Club President Ivette Martin-Torruellas, expressed her appreciation for the work done by the Army Reserve Soldiers in the island.
"I truly recognize the sacrifice that the Soldiers and their families have to go through. I also recognize their great job they accomplished during the recovery of our island," said Martin-Torruellas.
Shultz' speech at the Rotary Club is part of the U.S. Army Reserve 1st Mission Support Command community engagement initiative, to generate and sustain Army Reserve advocates within the local population.