FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico — Retired Brig. Gen. Fernando Fernandez, former commanding general of the 1st Mission Support Command, still lives his commitment as a citizen-Soldier serving as one of the two Army Reserve Ambassadors in Puerto Rico.
“My aspiration was to make it to captain,” said Fernandez. “I never thought I would go beyond that, but once you’re in this organization the professionalism, loyalty and dedication from your peers motivates you to continue in this career.”
The Army Reserve Ambassador program was established in 1998 to spread awareness of the Army Reserve’s mission and to identify initiatives and objectives put in place by the Chief of Army Reserve.
As well as helping the commanding general who can’t be in all places at once, it is important for ambassadors to attend conferences and ceremonies on his behalf to show support and spread the word on the greatness of citizen-soldiers.
“The ambassador program designates people with influence in the community to serve as liaisons or links between civilian communities, businesses, local government and the Army Reserve command,” said Fernandez.
Being an ambassador also means doing their best to assist with issues and problems and most importantly disseminating information.
This year the United States Army Reserve in Puerto Rico is celebrating its 100th year of service to the military and the nation.
With the deactivation of the 373rd Infantry Regiment in 1922, members of that unit became the first element of what was known back then as the Organized Reserve in Puerto Rico, explained Fernandez.
Since then, reserve soldiers from Puerto Rico have fought in World War II, the Persian Gulf, the former Yugoslavia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Late last year Fernandez was also inducted into the Quartermaster Corps Hall of Fame, an honor for members of the quartermaster corps who’ve had a distinguished career and have enhanced the reputation and history of the corps.
“That honor is not only for me, it's for all the soldiers in the Army Reserve Puerto Rico because very few Army reservists get inducted into the hall of fame,” said Fernandez. It's indeed an honor and I humbly accepted.”
Created in 1986 the Quartermaster Corps Hall of Fame award is the highest form of recognition the Corps offers, a selection board appointed by the Quartermaster General reviews all nominations for this high honor.
Since 1922, the Soldiers of the United States Army Reserve in Puerto Rico have proven to be trained professionals with specialized military and civilian skills ready to perform in a dynamic environment.