Twice the Citizen

This past Saturday, I traveled to the University of South Florida (Tampa) and had the distinct honor to witness the retirements ceremony of a great American, Major General Luis R. Visot, United States Army.  "Retirements" is not a misprint.  General Visot was also retiring from his "day job" as executive director, Joint Military Leadership Center at the University of South Florida.

In a change from my usual comments regarding the inept performance of our current commander in chief and the criminal and corrupt actions of a former secretary of state and her husband (a former POTUS), I thought I might focus on something positive: the great relationship among the United States Army Reserve, the civilian community it protects, and the soldiers who are "Twice the Citizen," serving concurrently in the military and civilian arenas.

At the ceremony, this phenomenon was demonstrated from top to bottom.  At the top, the event was co-hosted by Lieutenant General Jeffrey Talley, chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general of United States Army Reserve Component Command, along with Dr. Judy Genchaft, president of the University of South Florida.  At the other end of the spectrum in the audience, friends, family, military members, and civilian coworkers mingled to share in this event, demonstrating again that mutually supportive relationship.

Tying all of this together were the parallel careers of General Visot's life.  Like so many National Guard and Reserve soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, he held a civilian job and was an integral part of his community.  Also, like so many service members, he rose in authority and responsibility as he served his country in uniform, both stateside and abroad, and often in harm's way – in General Visot's case, five combat tours.

There is a photo from Iraq that has made its way around the internet, showing two Soldiers in an Army truck with a sign in the windshield saying, "ONE weekend a month MY A**!"

Even when not mobilized, deployed, and fighting ISIS, career Reserve soldiers often spend much more than one weekend a month and two weeks a  year staying proficient in their skills and learning new ones.  As soldiers are promoted and given more responsibility, they are called upon to devote even more time to their units.  This can take a toll on employers, families, and the soldiers themselves as they try to keep all of this in balance, fulfilling their commitments to family, community, civilian employers, and the military. 

Major General Visot represents all of us Guard and Reserve members who balance civilian and military careers while raising families.  He is indeed, Twice the Citizen.

Mike Ford is a former Infantry colonel.  He has served in Europe, Central America, and Southwest Asia, commanding at the detachment, company, battalion, and brigade levels.  He also had the great opportunity and privilege to serve as Major General Visot's chief of staff as he led the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, providing earthquake relief to Haiti  during Operation Unified Response.

This past Saturday, I traveled to the University of South Florida (Tampa) and had the distinct honor to witness the retirements ceremony of a great American, Major General Luis R. Visot, United States Army.  "Retirements" is not a misprint.  General Visot was also retiring from his "day job" as executive director, Joint Military Leadership Center at the University of South Florida.

In a change from my usual comments regarding the inept performance of our current commander in chief and the criminal and corrupt actions of a former secretary of state and her husband (a former POTUS), I thought I might focus on something positive: the great relationship among the United States Army Reserve, the civilian community it protects, and the soldiers who are "Twice the Citizen," serving concurrently in the military and civilian arenas.

At the ceremony, this phenomenon was demonstrated from top to bottom.  At the top, the event was co-hosted by Lieutenant General Jeffrey Talley, chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general of United States Army Reserve Component Command, along with Dr. Judy Genchaft, president of the University of South Florida.  At the other end of the spectrum in the audience, friends, family, military members, and civilian coworkers mingled to share in this event, demonstrating again that mutually supportive relationship.

Tying all of this together were the parallel careers of General Visot's life.  Like so many National Guard and Reserve soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, he held a civilian job and was an integral part of his community.  Also, like so many service members, he rose in authority and responsibility as he served his country in uniform, both stateside and abroad, and often in harm's way – in General Visot's case, five combat tours.

There is a photo from Iraq that has made its way around the internet, showing two Soldiers in an Army truck with a sign in the windshield saying, "ONE weekend a month MY A**!"

Even when not mobilized, deployed, and fighting ISIS, career Reserve soldiers often spend much more than one weekend a month and two weeks a  year staying proficient in their skills and learning new ones.  As soldiers are promoted and given more responsibility, they are called upon to devote even more time to their units.  This can take a toll on employers, families, and the soldiers themselves as they try to keep all of this in balance, fulfilling their commitments to family, community, civilian employers, and the military. 

Major General Visot represents all of us Guard and Reserve members who balance civilian and military careers while raising families.  He is indeed, Twice the Citizen.

Mike Ford is a former Infantry colonel.  He has served in Europe, Central America, and Southwest Asia, commanding at the detachment, company, battalion, and brigade levels.  He also had the great opportunity and privilege to serve as Major General Visot's chief of staff as he led the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, providing earthquake relief to Haiti  during Operation Unified Response.