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    Inspiring Central PA’s next generation of Soldiers

    Inspiring Central Pennsylvania's Next Generation of Soldiers

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Army Maj. Bob Reed, acting commander and administrative officer of 2nd Battalion,...... read more read more



    Story by 1st Lt. Lindsey Foulk 

    109th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    “You can call me Bob.”

    A normal thing to hear when being introduced to just anyone, but an unexpected introduction to a field grade officer in the Army. But after some conversation, the introduction makes sense. Reed is approachable, inspirational and every bit of Esprit de Corps–which is what makes it feel like you’re with a hometown friend when you’re talking to him. One that echoes the Central Pennsylvania spirit– a community deeply rooted in hard work, discipline and a heavy agricultural influence, so much so that the number of chickens and cows far outweigh the number of people who live there.

    Maj. Robert G. Reed, III, or “Bob,” currently serves in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard as the acting commander and administrative officer of 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team headquartered in Lewistown, Pennsylvania, just a few minutes drive from where Reed grew up and in the heart of Central Pennsylvania.

    Born in Philadelphia in July 1976 to the late Carmen Aspe, an immigrant from Peru, and Robert Reed, Jr., a Navy veteran, Reed understood very early on the tough grind that comes with something you deeply want. He was raised by his grandparents, Robert Reed Sr. and Frances Reed, both World War II and Korean War veterans and Great Depression survivors, who taught him the meaning of hard work, persistence and sacrifice. Something the robust and tough people of the area understand.

    In 1994, Reed enlisted as a mechanized infantryman and served in Germany as well as the Former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. In 1996, he joined the Pennsylvania Army National Guard, and participated in deployments to Kosovo, as well as state active duty and Title 10 missions for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. In 2007, Reed commissioned and had the opportunity to lead missions in Iraq as a Stryker infantry platoon leader. Returning to Central Pennsylvania, Reed became a Stryker infantry company commander. He’s also been a Professor of Military Science at Penn State University which gave him an opportunity to teach others about the thing he’s most passionate about.

    Throughout his 30 year career, Reed has held a variety of positions, earned multiple prestigious awards, attended countless impressive schools and gained institutional knowledge many in the Army seek out, and yet, he remains a warm and approachable leader with the goal of introducing more people to the organization that changed his life.

    “Serving where you live allows you to find a synergy in your professional and personal life, creating congruency in the activities off duty that positively impact your profession,” he said. “This local connection helps me to understand the community's needs and strengthens the bond between the military and civilians.”

    That kind of connection to not only the civilians in the community, but the community itself, means there’s a certain kind of personal investment in what he does–both on missions, in training, and recruiting the next generation of hard-working, tough-as-nails soldiers. It’s the kind of connection that comes from a type of family business– something the PAARNG feels a lot like.

    “Living and serving in my hometown allows me to be more personally invested in the Soldiers of the unit, the Department of Army and commonwealth employees that support the unit, and motivates me to do whatever I can to grow the unit,” Reed said. “My position requires me to sustain and increase the readiness of the unit to meet commonwealth and federal mission requirements when they arise.”

    Which means looking for people who want to serve in the same community they live in, give back to something greater than themselves and develop the next generation of soldiers like Reed. What better place to become an enhanced version of yourself, learn new skills and give back than in the place you and your family live, work and play?

    “Serving in my hometown unit allows me to leverage my network for the betterment of the Soldiers and the organization,” he continued. “My upbringing in the valleys that fed Newport High School and now the mighty Blue Mountain that provides for the valleys surrounding Mifflintown provide the frame to appreciate and value where we have come from, who we are, and where we need to be to best serve and defend.”

    All things that are uniquely the Guard.

    “My service in the National Guard strengthens the bond between the military and the local community by fostering mutual respect and understanding,” Reed said. “By being actively involved in community events and local initiatives, we demonstrate our commitment not only to national defense but also to the well-being of our neighbors. This dual role enhances trust and cooperation, making our community more resilient and united.”

    Resiliency and unity aside, there’s much more to Guard service than the external impact on the community. Reed has made a tangible difference in countless soldiers' lives as well. Having a leader who not only has the tactical chops, but one that shows compassion, grit and truly cares about the people around them, are the ones that soldiers remember and emulate.

    Like most family businesses, the Guard has those same kinds of close-knit relationships. The kind that develops from going through things together–both good and bad. It’s the Army with a small-town feel. It’s all that with an unwavering commitment to helping the local community and making a lasting impact. The Guard, unbeknownst to those on the outside, embodies the spirit of family and community. They’re someone's daughter, son, nephew, grandchild, aunt or uncle, dedicated to serving and protecting.

    So for Reed and the many others who live near and serve in 2nd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, their service reflects the characteristics of the Central Pennsylvania– toughness, grit and making sacrifices for the ones you love.

    “Making my mark on the community and organization means serving together on a diverse team that is a reflection of our community. People from all walks of life coming together to train to respond to calls for support from the Governor or President,”: Reed said. “My service allows me to channel my life experience, the good, the bad and the ugly, into a career that seeks to lift others up, to give voice to those without, to do something for the greater good.”

    Spoken like a true, selfless, hard-working leader.


    Date Taken: 05.23.2024
    Date Posted: 05.28.2024 00:13
    Story ID: 472179

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