By Mr. Bryan Gatchell (IMCOM)March 11, 2013
ANSBACH, Germany (Feb. 28, 2013) -- Staff Sgt. Latanya Foster works in two worlds; she is both a civilian employee of the Department of the Army and an Army reservist. In addition to being the property book officer and manager of the Central Issue Facility at Barton Barracks, her civilian job, she is now a unit supply specialist with the Special Operations Command Africa, or SOCAFRICA.
During a ceremony Feb. 22 at her civilian place of work, Foster re-enlisted with the Army Reserve for three more years. She has been a member of the Reserve for 10 years already. Since joining the civilian world a little more than a year ago here at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, she has already received a promotion.
"It's different from the military world, but it's been great," said Foster. "I'm enjoying it, and I've got a really good group of supervisors and staff members."
Her Army Reserve supervisor believes that her Reserve career enhances her civilian career.
"It may take some time out of her civilian job, but the experience and training that she gets as a reservist is going to help her ability as a civilian employee," said Lt. Col. Lockhart Simpson, chief of Plans and Operations for USAG Ansbach's Directorate of Logistics and Foster's Army Reserve supervisor. "I'm very happy to have her working for me as a reservist, and I'm very proud that I'm going to re-enlist her."
Typically reservists will train together one weekend a month with their units. With Foster's re-enlistment and new duty assignment, she will have greater flexibility when scheduling her training.
"She came from a drilling Reserve unit, a TPU, a troop program unit," said Sgt. 1st Class John Baczynski, an Army Reserve career counselor. "What she's going into now is an IMA position, an individual mobilization augmentee. She doesn't have a set schedule, whereas her old unit, in October she would get a schedule for the whole year. … IMA doesn't have that schedule. She's going to work out her schedule with her first-line supervisor, and then she can bounce that off her boss, so it's like having your cake and eating it too."
Baczynski believed that Foster has good support from her civilian employers to achieve both her work here and her work as part of SOCAFRICA.
"In the states, they have ESGR, Employer Support Guard and Reserve," he said. "We don't have that in Germany. What those people do is if reservists come back from downrange and their boss fires them or whatever, they are an intermediary. As Colonel Simpson says, he supports; he's got two other reservists. That is a major thing, having the support of your supervisors on the civilian side. Big time. It makes things easier."
Foster relishes both roles:
"I'm excited to continue on my Reserve career, continue to lead Soldiers, and be a civilian and continue to contribute to the force."