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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Transitions – Military Reserves: Day jobs and active duty


This is the third column that will feature thoughts from Army Reservist Jeff.

According to a report in Military News, Military.com, on May 13, 2022, Maj. General Ed. Thomas AF Recruiting Command noted that unfortunately there are “warning lights flashing” about maintaining a strong military as a highly competitive job market converges with a mass of troops leaving as the coronavirus pandemic subsides.

Only one-quarter of young Americans are eligible for service because many potential recruits are overweight, screened out for minor criminal infractions, or refuse to be vaccinated. Only 40% of prime recruiting age are vaccinated against the virus. Outright refusal to get the shot immediately prevents joining and short-circuits any pitch from recruiters.

I’ll address more on the recruiting crisis in future columns, but for now I’ll let Jeff speak.

My day job is as an analyst for a suburban Chicagoland police department. I use public and law enforcement data to help police officers efficiently solve problems in our communities, identify criminal offenders, and support our investigations with leads that get them closer to solving cases. My role in the Army is parallel to my job at the police department just with different data and objectives.

Finally, I wanted to mention a post-script that has been rattling in my head about my day job and its relation to my time in the military. I’m lucky in that some of what the military has trained me to do translates directly to my professional career. But what I love about the National Guard — and I get to rib my full-time brethren — is that our organization is full of people with wide-ranging everyday jobs. I supervise college students, trade workers, business professionals, cops, and firefighters. I have a peer that owns a hair salon, another photography business and another co-owns a bridal business with his wife.

It’s fascinating because our business is all about solving problems in the most austere locations. Whether it is building better living conditions or talking to the public, time and time again I have seen the well-rounded Guardsmen and women step up with their life experiences to solve these problems that would stump the Active Duty.

Barbara Blomquist
Barbara Blomquist
Barbara Blomquist is a Naperville resident, wife, mother, quilter, and screenwriter. Contact her at BWBLomquist@aol.com.