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    The chameleon

    2014 Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition - Search and seizure

    Photo By Master Sgt. Ryan Matson | Staff Sgt. Kristopher Stallard, a healthcare specialist from Fontana, Calif., with the...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Matson 

    U.S. Army Reserve Command

    JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Staff Sgt. Kristopher Stallard is a chameleon.

    He can adapt to survive in any environment. But unlike the chameleon who will merely survive, Stallard will flourish.

    In his eight years, six months in the military, Stallard, currently a medic with the 426th Civil Affairs Battalion, has held four military occupational specialties – multi-channel transmission systems operator, transportation management coordinator, information technology specialist - and has done well in each one.

    “He can fix somebody's computer, he can help build somebody's resume, he can show Soldiers how to different Army Warrior tasks, he knows different Army doctrine and training publications and where to find information. It's one of his top strengths,” said Sgt. 1st Class Alec Appleton, who serves with Stallard in the 426th Civil Affairs Battalion.

    Now, Stallard has his sights set on winning the 2014 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior competition at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, June 23 to 27.

    To do so, he will have to beat out 41 of the Army Reserve's top Soldiers in events ranging from shooting and ruck marching to answering board questions and even mystery events.

    “These events expose what you're weakest at and that's what's important to me,” Stallard said.

    “I want to build around what I'm weakest at and not just continually do the things I'm strong at.”

    Appleton, who is also Stallard's sponsor in the event, has been training with Stallard for about eight months for Best Warrior.
    He said Stallard's wide range of knowledge will be a huge advantage in the contest.

    Having gone through the grueling Army Mountain Warfare school, where Soldiers must scale mountains with heavy ruck sacks at high altitudes won't hurt either, Appleton added.

    Next month Stallard will beginning training in yet another MOS, civil affairs. In addition to all the training he has done through learning different jobs in the Army, Stallard has also completed several rigorous Army schools besides Mountain Warfare, to include Airborne school, Air Assault school and the Rappel Master course.
    “The highlight of my career has been being versatile,” Stallard said. “I've been fortunate throughout my career to experience different MOSs and realms of support. It shows what a broad spectrum our profession is – it doesn't matter what your MOS is – you could wind up anywhere and be doing something completely different than what you were trained to do. You just need to remain adaptive.”

    Stallard's medical MOS came about after Stallard's father had a stroke. He spent a year with his mother taking care of his father early in his military career. Now the 28-year-old native of Fontana, California, is pursuing a degree in nursing.

    “The deterioration of my father's health just opened up that whole realm of how little I understood with the complexities of the body and whatnot,” Stallard said.

    He said he often felt helpless simply because he did not have a solid understanding of what his father was going through.

    Stallard's outside interests are as diverse as the numerous jobs he has held in the military. He has tried everything from music to roller hockey.

    “I'm probably as atypical as guys come,” Stallard said. “I do a little bit of everything. I guess that's Southern California for you – you're exposed to so much.”

    Stallard laughs when he thinks about how he originally joined the Army.

    “It started out with friends of mine wanting to join, and I was tagging along,” Stallard said. “They didn't meet the height and weight requirements to join, so they looked at me and said, 'Hey you're the perfect fit.'”

    At the time, Stallard didn't think he would join. But a few months later, when he turned 18, he changed his mind.

    He said he wanted to go to college but didn't have the money.
    “I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew I needed to do something,” he said.

    The decision did not initially go over well with his parents, whom he told the next day, and who were worried about his safety with the high rates of deployments to combat zones at the time.

    “It was one of the only days I’ve seen my father cry,” Stallard admitted.

    Now, Stallard said both he and his parents look at the decision as one of the best changes of his life.

    The chameleon continues to change. Now, he is set on changes his colors once again. This time to wear the color of the U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior.



    Date Taken: 06.26.2014
    Date Posted: 06.26.2014 23:10
    Story ID: 134595
    Hometown: FONTANA, CA, US

    Web Views: 63
    Downloads: 1