AT SEA - It takes a special person to be so dedicated to the
country that when they choose to leave a full-time military career
they volunteer to serve part time. But that's just the type of
person Yeoman 2nd Class Richard Bragg became when he joined the
Reserves in 2009.
“I was working a job that had no benefits
and I needed benefits for myself and my son,” said Bragg. He began
thinking about the Navy and about how much he'd enjoyed his time on
active duty. It wasn't long before he recognized the valuable
services he and the Navy could provide to one another once again, so
after a nine-year break from active service, he enlisted in the
In 2012, while assigned to the Fleet Logistics
Support Squadron 57 (VR-57) Conquistadors based at Naval Air Station
North Island, Bragg decided he wanted to volunteer yet again. This
time for an individual augmentee assignment that would take him away
from his comfortable civilian life for seven months and relocate him
to Ali Al Salem Air Base, about 23 miles from the Iraqi border.
“I worked at the tactical operations center tracking [personnel]
movements on and off base and within the country. If personnel went
to the United Arab Emirates or Bahrain, I would track them and I
also did admin work for them,” he explained.
distance from his family and friends was hard sometimes, he felt
challenged by having to prove himself capable time and time again in
new work centers.
“Initially going out there and starting at
one base and then moving to another base was the biggest challenge,”
he said. “The challenge was that when you move you have to
re-establish yourself and your reputation all over again.”
Fortunately Bragg has a competitive nature and has an “always go
above and beyond” attitude. He prides himself on setting and
reaching goals, staying motivated and always trying to do at least
double of what's expected of him.
In addition to doing his
job, he volunteered as a base librarian and within the Morale,
Welfare and Recreation department. It wasn't long before others
recognized his hard-charging ways.
Bragg received an Army
Achievement medal for the work that he did in helping to close Ali
That Reserve career achievement was made even
sweeter by the fact that Bragg was also able to accomplish some
personal goals while on his IA that will help him outside of the
Navy as well. He hit the gym hard six days a week dropping weight
and toning up. More importantly, he also earned his C++ Networking
certificate using night classes offered on base, with a goal of
becoming a network engineer.
While he was glad to get back
home in November, Bragg said that returning to civilian life can be
“You may come back to a new job or a new
supervisor and you have to prove yourself all over again,” he said.
Despite the challenges he faced during his IA and upon
returning home, Bragg said he is happy he deployed and would
consider volunteering for another deployment.
“I had a good
time. I saw a little bit of the world,” Bragg said. “I got to
network and I made a lot of good friends out there.”
By U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Melissa Russell
Comment on this article