As he deployed throughout his Military Intelligence career, Capt. Joshua Humphrey routinely found himself working with troops from the Army Reserve and Army National Guard. Today, as an Observer Coach/Trainer with First Army, he partners with these units on a daily basis.
Each experience has only multiplied his respect for the reserve component.
“A lot of people think the Active Duty life is hard,” he said. “For the National Guard and Reserve, you’ve got you civilian job, family, and also you’ve got to manage and still have a career on the Reserve or Guard side. You can get orders at any time to deploy. Here on the Active Duty side that’s expected. For the National Guard and Reserve that’s a much bigger deal."
A native of Omaha, Neb., Humphrey has served in the Army for 18 years, first enlisting as an electronic signals intelligence Soldier. His first duty station was Fort Shafter, Hawaii, and he later moved to Buckley Air Force Base in Denver, Colo., to join the 743th Military Intelligence Battalion. It was there that he went on his first deployment to Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.
While on that deployment, Humphrey worked on creating target packages for the Joint Task Force.
“It was very gratifying,” he said. “I could do a target package and if not that night, then the next night I’m watching it get actioned through the feed.”
Humphrey equates Military Intelligence with finding a needle in a haystack.
“It’s almost like going on a scavenger hunt,” he said. “You get the little bit of information and then dig deeper. Figuring out that big puzzle of what you think is going to happen.”
When Humphrey returned from his deployment, he applied to the Army’s Green to Gold Program at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, graduating with a degree in business management and a commission as second lieutenant.
Humphrey continued to progress in his military career, completing his company command time at Fort Carson, Colo., before moving to Camp Shelby, Miss., to join First Army as an OC/T.
In his current role, Humphrey applies nearly two decades of experience to partnering with the reserve component, embracing the First Army mission of enabling an entire 52 percent of America’s Army. He draws on real-world, combat proficiency to train, support and mentor his reserve component peers in pre-mobilization training, major collective exercises and during large-scale mobilization culmination training events.
Humphrey has found that being a First Army OC/T is a career broadening assignment—but one that does not require broadening at the expense of being a warfighter. He’s retained the ability to influence Soldiers at the point of readiness, stay grounded in hands-on training and large-scale exercises, and contribute at the tactical level to forces preparing to deploy.
As a post-company command OC/T, Humphrey has continued to hone leadership skills, becoming a master of the After Action Review and the most current Tactics, Techniques and Procedures to advise, coach and mentor reserve component units at regional training support centers and Combat Training Centers.
“At the Joint Readiness Training Center or the National Training Center, you’re only with those OC/Ts for a couple weeks,” he said. “Here, we start the team-building process a few years out and work with the units all the way up to deployment. You get to see them go from their first training event to their last training event."
It has been said that the best way to learn is to teach; First Army ensures warfighters do both.
Humphrey is married with four children and is expecting a fifth this March. He and his family live in Gulfport, Miss. He admits that was one of the draws to First Army was its wide variety of locations dispersed throughout the U.S.
"That way on days off or weekends we’re a bit closer to the beach and other things we like to do,” he said.
In his spare time, Humphrey enjoys spending time with his family, travel, sports, and the outdoors.