Maj. David Bankston from Beaverton, Ore., commander of the 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team's Headquarter and Headquarters Company, is a New Orleans transplant who loves his roots and being a member of the Oregon National Guard.
Bankston maintains professionalism and a strong military bearing that has allowed him to advance quickly in his military career. Yet, when he reminisces about growing up in New Orleans and his experiences in the Guard, Bankston's personality quickly turns to a youthful exuberance when thinking
about two cultures he loves.
Bankston said there's so much to like about Beaverton, but that what he misses most about Louisiana is the culture and the food.
"We have a saying in Louisiana: no matter where we go in the world we're disappointed in the
Bankston mentioned that he is happy to see New Orleans making a comeback and said that everyone should visit the city because it has a rich history and is very unique.
He remembered taking leave, while he was on active duty, and going to Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina to help friends and family. Seeing what the National Guard did is one of the big reasons he is proud of being a member, said Bankston.
"The people of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, greatly appreciate the National Guard units, represented by many different states that came to Louisiana. I've heard so many great things about how the National Guard came in and helped those people out during that
Bankston said that he is also proud of being in the National Guard because the Guard can wear more than one hat and it is a very capable and diverse organization.
He mentioned how working with people from the National Guard, who have other careers, has been an enriching experience.
"You have the opportunity to live your life as you want to live it and still be able to serve. You have to make sacrifices in the Guard but you can serve in your own state; you can keep your job as a teacher, firefighter, policeman, you name it, but you can also serve in the military."
Bankston said he feels that having so many people with unique skill sets to draw from, other than their military career, adds to the Guard's ability to handle a variety of state and federal missions.
He explained that he has a tremendous amount of respect for employers who support their National Guard employees because having to leave a job to serve is easily one of the most difficult parts of being in the Guard.
Bankston said he knows that employers also have to sacrifice when their employees go on a deployment. However, he feels that Guard members often come back as better employees with improved leadership, organization and management skills who also have the ability to better handle stress at work and in life.
"Letting these men and women be Soldiers, along with whatever other profession they have, is going to enhance their ability to do work in any capacity."
When talking about his life, Maj. David Bankston makes it clear that he is thankful that his wife brought him to the beautiful state of Oregon to work for an organization he loves. He is also proud to have roots that he says lay in the great state of Louisiana.
This work, Oregon Major with Cajun flavor loves National Guard, by SGT Cory Grogan, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.