News: Family drives soldier toward success
Story by Sgt. Richard Wrigley
CAMP MARMAL, Afghanistan - With roughly half a million personnel comprising the U.S. Army, it should come as no surprise that there are many different reasons a soldier may be driven to serve.
Sgt. Roger Montalvo, who was recently awarded a battlefield promotion, joined because he wanted to provide a better future for his children.
Montalvo, from Corpus Christi, Texas, a human resources specialist for the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, grew up in a family where military service was not uncommon. While his father had served a tour in Vietnam, and his brother had served in the Navy, Montalvo was never pressured to join the military. Instead, the message he received at a young age from his family was to do what made him happy.
For Montalvo, happiness was found on a baseball diamond.
He was singled out his freshmen year of high school by his school’s varsity team coach to pitch, he said.
Montalvo later went on to pitch for Brown Mackie College in Salina, Kan. However, after completing his associate’s degree, his life’s path took a different turn.
After having two children, and with bills starting to pile up, things began to look bleak.
“It was hard making ends meet when it was just me, but once I had children, everything changed, and I knew I had to do something more to give them what they deserved,” he said.
He came to a point in his life in which he had to make a decision when his son became ill and had to be hospitalized.
Montalvo, who was 26 years old at the time, didn’t know how he was going to be able to pay for the hospital bills. He decided to enlist in the Army, with the welfare of his children as the driving force behind his decision.
“That’s when I made the call … I wanted to give my kids a better life,” he added.
One soldier has seen firsthand the effort Montalvo has put forth to do just that.
“He loves his children, and he would do anything for them,” said Spc. Yamilette Bautista-Coates, from Woodland, Calif., a fellow human resources specialist in the 1st ACB who has worked with Montalvo the last three years.
He pushes himself for his children, and everything he has been working toward has been with their best interest in mind, she added.
Montalvo said he constantly strives to become more proficient at his job, as he believes that his children will benefit if he excels at his profession.
Furthermore, the subject matter experts whom he initially worked alongside inspired him to learn more about the role of a human resources technician in the Army.
“Everyone in the shop back then knew everyone else’s job, and if you gave anyone a task, they just ran with it, and I was impressed," said Montalvo. “I wanted to have that same work ethic. I wanted to be ‘that guy.’”
That work ethic has paid dividends for Montalvo, who was recently acknowledged by his command when he was awarded a battlefield promotion to the rank of sergeant Jan. 1.
While Montalvo had been working towards getting promoted, due to the promotion rates in his field, he was not expecting to get promoted for another year or so. His promotion came as complete surprise.
Staff Sgt. Claudius Stewart, a native of Nassau, Bahamas, and a human resources non-commissioned officer, was one of the few people who knew about Montalvo’s pending battlefield promotion before it happened. He said he feels that the command awarded the right soldier.
“He always puts forth the extra effort, and you can see in his actions that he wants to be that NCO, that professional,” said Stewart. “Everyone has their time. Right now, it’s Montalvo’s, and he has earned it.”