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Sgt. Will Tucker on the job as an Army Reservist.  Photo courtesy of Will Tucker.

Sgt. Will Tucker on the job as an Army Reservist. Photo courtesy of Will Tucker.

Wearing Two Service Hats

I was recently asked to describe what it’s like to be in military service while working for the government. I am a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Bloomington, Indiana Field Office.

As a soldier I “stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United Stated of America” (per the Soldier’s Creed). Through this service I get to protect the ideals that make my country. I believe that some of those ideals are incorrectly manifested, but by defending them, I protect the ability to change the ones I disagree with as well as protect those that I support.

I know that I am about to tread dangerously close to a Hallmark™ level of sappiness, but bear with me as I tell you that I love my country. It is not perfect, but how many of the things that we love are perfect? I love this place because it is where I am from. It is where I was set on the path of becoming who I am. It is a place worth working hard for. It is home, and while I was away I missed it. I spent five of my five and a half years of active duty military service stationed overseas. During that time I got to see much of Europe and some of Asia. I very much enjoyed those other places that I lived and visited but I always had the yearning to return.

In 2007 active duty military and I had to part ways. At the time it was my dream job but it didn't leave me enough time to spend with my dream wife. So, back to school I went. Fast-forward and we arrive at now. I re-joined the military as a Reservist and have been fortunate enough to procure employment with the Fish and Wildlife Service as a fish and wildlife biologist. It is a great position to be in, having these two jobs.

This summer I spent 11 weeks on active duty training, performing emergency equipment recovery and repair, training troops and learning to be a more qualified leader. I spent two weeks in the U.S. Virgin Islands supporting the local National Guard during its annual hurricane response training. I then spent three weeks at Camp Grayling, Michigan, assisting in a training exercise in which 5,000 National Guard and active duty soldiers participated in combat and artillery training operations. The final six weeks of my training were spent at Fort Dix, New Jersey, at a professional development course as I prepare to make the transition from Staff Sergeant to Sergeant First Class.

This summer I also had the opportunity to take several trips with the Fish and Wildlife Service. I traveled to northwestern Indiana to visit the Grand Calumet River. Its remediation is one of the projects to which I have been assigned. I get to join a group of people who have been working for over 20 years to restore the beneficial uses of the river and the nearby wetlands. I have also joined a team that is involved in the Contaminants of Emerging Concern program for the Great Lakes Region. It is an Early Warning Program that focuses on prevention and minimization of harm to wildlife from new sources and new routes of exposure.

As a public servant with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I get to add a new dimension of protecting my home. Now I get to protect the physical aspect of my country. Just as we are stewards of our ideals, so are we stewards of our environment. It is part of who we are to use what is around us and we have the obligation to use it responsibly.

I am blessed that I am now in the position to do both. I am grateful to the Service and to my supervisor. He has been very gracious without reservation in allowing me to attend 11 weeks of training though it took me, as a resource to the field office, away for the entire summer.

By Will Tucker
Bloomington, Indiana Ecological Services Field Office

Sgt. Will Tucker serves his country as an Army Reservist and as a fish and wildlife biologist. Photo courtesy of Will Tucker.

Sgt. Will Tucker serves his country as an Army Reservist and as a fish and wildlife biologist. Photo courtesy of Will Tucker.

 

Last updated: November 4, 2014