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FEATURE | The engineers of the US Army

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GREETINGS and Hafa Adai friends and family!

I hope this article finds you and your family well as we navigate through this pandemic and crisis. I have not been home to experience our beautiful beaches, enjoy our island food, and surround myself with our great people for the past five years. However, I have not forgotten about my family, our people, and the island I call home — Saipan. 

First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the public servants and the individuals who place their lives at risk on a daily basis to meet the demands of our people despite the risks that you each face when you put yourself in the “frontlines.” Through my lens, I see Saipan’s leadership and our people doing a tremendous job in containing and preventing the virus from spreading. Your individual and collective efforts are speaking for itself. Cases back home do not seem high compared to regions here in the continental United States and even globally.

Second, I wanted to share my experience as a military engineer. This profession has brought me far away from home, and it has also opened doors to many opportunities. I am not a recruiter. My intentions are not to sell the Army but inform our community about additional opportunities that exist outside the comfort of our home and are available to us. My experience thus far as an engineer has been, by far, rewarding. The military, in general, has many options from different branches to a specific job specialty. Outside of the Engineer Regiment, the Army does provide you the opportunity from serving in a food and beverage environment (my first experience as a waiter in Shirley’s Coffee Shop) to managing operations for an Engineer Battalion in a Stryker Brigade Combat Team consisting of over 560 soldiers (my first assignment as an engineer officer in Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington). It all depends on what route or approach one decides to take. In my case, I was fortunate to pursue a military career in the Engineer Regiment.  Additional opportunities to serve in the Engineer Regiment but are not limited to the following include: combat engineer, geospatial engineer, horizontal construction engineer, special forces engineer, technical engineer, and a watercraft engineer. Professions in these areas can also benefit you in the civilian sector if you decide to pursue a career outside of the military after completing your service. Engineers in the United States Army perform multiple tasks such as shaping the environment, providing counter-mobility and mobility support to maneuver forces, and providing general engineering support to military and civilian operations. Additionally, regardless of rank and job description, the formal education given by the Engineer Regiment can prepare you towards various certifications, and in some cases, can be transferred towards completing a degree program. The bottom line is that many opportunities exist. We need to educate our youth as they grow to become productive members of our communities and our nation. Keep in mind, the only limits we have are the ones we place on ourselves.

It’s been a humbling experience coming from a tiny island and representing our home wherever the military takes me. Thank you to our brothers and sisters in arms currently serving or served, especially those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice — may they never be forgotten. Lastly, thank you for your time and stay safe, CNMI! God bless our island and its treasure — the People!

The author was born and raised on Saipan and grew up in Chinatown. He attended Grace Christian Academy, Marianas High School, and Northern Marianas College. He earned a commission as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Army in May 2015. He recently completed the Engineer’s Captain Career Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He is stationed there with his wife Diane and two daughters, Ruth and Lina. He is currently pursuing a graduate degree in geological engineering from the University of Missouri Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

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