News: Arizona Air Force reservist, Tuba City Indian Health care employee deploys
Air Force Reserve Capt. Rick Valdes is currently deployed to Southwest Asia as a registered nurse for the 386th Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility.
Valdes is serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the official name given to military operations assisting in rebuilding Iraq's economic and governmental infrastructure and training and preparing Iraqi military and security forces to assume full authority and responsibility in defending and preserving Iraq's sovereignty and independence as a democracy.
Despite the challenges of being far from home and family, Valdes said "being a part of [this operation in support of the Global War on Terror] and helping soldiers that are injured" make his time away easier.
Active duty and reserve component members from all branches of the U.S. armed forces are deployed under the U.S. Central Command to support the war against global terrorism outside the borders of the United States. The unified command of USCENTCOM is responsible for U.S. security interests and assets in 27 nations stretching from the Horn of Africa, through the Arabian Gulf region, and into Central Asia.
When he is stateside, Valdes is a critical care aerovac transport team nurse with the 944th Aeromedical Staging Squadron in Phoenix, at Luke Air Force Base. In his civilian occupation, the captain is an emergency room family nurse practitioner in Tuba City, Ariz., at the Tuba City Indian Medical Center.
Today, more than 1.2 million members of the National Guard and Reserve continue to perform an increasing number of unique missions that require extraordinary actions on the part of everyday citizens. Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) is the primary resource for information about the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, commonly known as USERRA.
This federal law allows Valdes and other mobilized reserve component members to retain their rights, when the deployment concludes. Established in 1972, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a DoD agency, provides free USERRA education, consultation, and if necessary, mediation for employers of Guard and Reserve employees.
The mission of ESGR is to gain and maintain active support from all public and private employers for the men and women of the National Guard and Reserve. More information about ESGR Employer Outreach Programs and volunteer opportunities is available at www.esgr.mil, or by calling the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve at (800) 336-4590.
When he's not deployed, Valdes, and his wife Yvonne reside in Flagstaff, Ariz.