“I’m here for two reasons today, one was to enlist 14 future Soldiers into our great Nation’s Army, and the other is to celebrate 115 years of Army Reserve,” said Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, Chief of the Army Reserve, as she opened her interview with a local Tampa/St. Petersburg television station at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida on April 23, the birthday of the Army Reserve.
The interview culminated a busy afternoon for Daniels, who was at Tropicana Field prior to the Tampa Bay Rays baseball game administering the oath of enlistment to 14 future Soldiers, presenting a giant check to future Soldier Benjamin Borton representing the $200,000 Minuteman Scholarship he earned, and throwing out the opening pitch for the Tampa Bay Rays.
“It’s really great to see these future Soldiers here in this atmosphere to take their oath of enlistment,” said Daniels. “They get to be seen by their families, their friends, and (among the tens of thousands at the game) over 7,000 youth baseball players who were here to watch the game.”
Future Soldier Benjamin Borton was thrilled to have the opportunity. “I was out there with the biggest smile on my face that I’ve had in the last ten years,” he said. Borton had good reason to be thrilled, having not only enlisted in the Army, but been recognized for earning a Minuteman Scholarship that will cover his four-year tuition at Baylor University, a $200,000 value.
In Borton’s case this scholarship allowed him to go to his top-choice university, an opportunity he said he would not have had if he had not earned this scholarship.
Daniel’s used her interview to highlight the Minuteman scholarship and other opportunities the Army Reserve offers. “For example, there are more than 150 military occupational specialties that you can serve in in the Army, and 120 of those exist in the Army Reserve,” Daniels said. “If there is a civilian career field, we probably have an equivalent skill set in the Army Reserve, a skill set that we can help you develop simultaneously with your service. There are lots of ways we can help people achieve their passion. There’s a lot that people can do, endless possibilities are out there. Be all you can be”
Daniels addressed her opening pitch in the interview, acknowledging that it was a little bit scary going into it, but she went in prepared. “By the time I got to the mound, I was in good shape, because I had been practicing for weeks,” she said. “Just like in the military, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. So I was ready.”
Daniels also highlighted her push to ensure tough realistic training for Army Reserve Soldiers. “It gives Soldiers a sense that they are participating in something relevant, meaningful, interesting, and exciting,” she said. “That way when they are done they go home and tell their families, their neighbors, and their roommates in college what they did over the weekend. When they tell their stories, we have more people that know about the Army Reserve and what all it can be.”
Army Reserve Soldiers telling their story will help ensure that the next 115 years of the Army Reserve are as bright as the past 115 years.