Take 5 with Gerardo Madrid

By FORSCOM Public AffairsApril 11, 2024

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

(Series 1, Post 2)

Welcome back to another edition of the FORSCOM blog, “Take 5.” I’m Mikie P, and I hope before you launch yourself into a marshmallow bunny sugar coma, you make time to read this while your insulin levels are still normal.

Before I share some Super-Secret Squirrel stories I collected from my latest interview though, I’d like to ask everyone to hit the “play” button in your head and set these next few lines to some classic James Bond music. Ready? And….GO!

Gerardo Madrid…An El Paso, Texas, native who realized slinging a mop and wielding a feather duster just wasn’t cutting it anymore. So, he headed to the nearest Army recruiting station to answer the call to serve!

Okay, so maybe he didn’t exactly do James Bond-ey kinds of things, but what Gerry does do is pretty amazing. So, buckle-up and read all about this guy who went from being a janitor and cleaning-up offices at White Sands Missile Range, to mopping-up in the Intel world as both a Soldier and a Civilian, with his expertise as an Intelligence Security Specialist. (Yes. That last line was intentionally cheesy, but who doesn’t like cheese?)

“When I graduated from high school, I was kind of lost, so I took a job with a cleaning service,” said Gerry. “I saw Soldiers in the offices I cleaned and thought to myself that I really needed to do something different; I had to join the Army.”

Good choice, Gerry. Three hots and a cot, new boots and cool job experience for your future. The Intel job he chose when he joined the ranks was more related to computers than commo, though. Gerry said even though he was comfortable with what he was doing, the Signal Corps is where he dipped his toes into the security side of things. He worked with programs like NIPRNet when he joined, and in case you’re wondering what that acronym stands for it’s Non-classified Internet Protocol Router Network; a network used by the U.S. Department of Defense, to exchange unclassified information and controlled unclassified info between its private network users. (See? Secret-Squirrel stuff.)

Gerry learned all he could in the ranks and doesn’t regret a single moment of it. He loved serving so much that when stationed in Washington state, he even coached football and convinced some of those high schoolers to join the Army, too.

“I saw some of those kids later on in my life and they were all officers through ROTC and doing so well,” he said. “It truly was very rewarding for me to see those kids become Soldiers,” said Gerry.

After seven years in uniform, he left the ranks and worked as a contractor. In G-2, which deals with Intel and Security, he learned all the dynamics of what Soldiers in that field do. Inevitably, Gerry left the contracting world though, took his knowledge with him and became a fulltime federal employee at the National Training Center.

If you aren’t familiar with NTC it’s a crap-ton of land out in the Mojave Desert of California where U.S. Soldiers and soldiers from our allied forces train together. They engage in wargames, practice tactics, and get to blow stuff up. Gerry’s role there is an important one, and he works with different entities to make the training rotations there happen. He and his teammates have a template, if you will, that helps guide them through the planning process.

“In the security world, there’s five functions of security and they are physical, industrial, personal, informational and general,” said Gerry. “Here, at the National Training Center, our team’s primary function is to take visit requests from our allies and foreign armies, when they want to come here and train,” he said. “We provide guidance-general security and a framework for safeguards and countermeasures,” said Gerry.

It’s a good thing FORSCOM has guys like Gerry on the team because when it comes to training our Soldiers, his work is crazy important to the success of our Soldiers in both simulated battle environments and the real deal. For 28 years he’s been learning that there are so many levels of how the Army works together to make it all come together. (This is the part where it's okay to yell out "Hooah!")

“I love the challenge; love being part of the team, and between being a Soldier, contractor and now a federal employee on the FORSCOM team working in Intel, it has been a great experience for me all around,” he said.

Thank you for your service to FORSCOM Gerry, and to any recent college grads out there or anyone looking to make a mid-life career change, please consider federal service with U.S. Army Forces Command. For more information about available federal jobs in I-T, please go to USAJOBS - Search and type in Information Technology. To learn more about U.S. Army Forces Command, check out our FORSCOM LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/company/us-army-forces-command-forscom/ to learn more about U.S. Army Forces Command.

Join me again next month for another conversation blog with a FORSCOM team member who loves what they do and encourages you to join the family. Till then, take care, and don’t forget to “Take 5.”