FORT MCCOY, Wis. - As a senior in high school, Sgt. 1st Class Troy Davis may have lacked college plans but was brimming with motivation. Eager to experience new things and challenges, he enlisted in the Army immediately after graduating from his hometown high school in Highland, Utah.
He couldn't wait to get going, knowing that the military would provide him with new avenues of learning. He did not know, however, just how much his experience with the Army would prepare him for success in his future.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Troy Davis (left), a financial management technician currently serving as the first sergeant for the 395th Financial Management Support Unit, assists Spc. Bryan Spaulding, a financial management technician assigned to the 395th, with balancing currency on the Deployable Dispersing System during the Combat Support Training Exercise 86-15-03 at Fort McCoy, Wis., Aug. 14, 2014. The exercise is designed to immerse units into a tactical environment that replicates what they would experience in a real-world mission. (U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Claudia Rocha)
As an Arabic linguist for the Army, Davis traveled the world, doing missions in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Indonesia. He served as an interpreter and teacher to local nationals and said he appreciated the experience of interacting with people of different cultures.
“The Army had some great opportunities that I couldn't get anywhere else at the time,” he said. “It was one of the most rewarding experiences.” br>
After serving seven years of active duty as a military intelligence Soldier, Davis said he was ready to pursue a civilian career, but not necessarily ready to stop serving in the Army.
Joining the Army Reserve allowed Davis to do both. And while this seemed like the perfect stepping stone for his transition into the civilian workforce, it did not come without some reservations.
“When I got out [of active duty], one of my biggest worries was that my Army experience would not directly correlate to anything in the civilian world,” said Davis. “What I later found was that so many things I did in the Army were direct correlations to what I did in the civilian world.”
In 2004, Davis decided to pursue a bachelor of business administration-finance degree at the University of Texas at Austin. During this time, Davis learned just how much his Army experience - specifically his serious mindset and task-oriented perspective - helped him succeed.
“[The Army] gave me discipline and leadership skills,” said Davis, “all of which helped me to become a better student.”
Not only did the military instill desirable character traits in Davis, but the Reserve also made it possible for him to give school his undivided attention.
“The Reserve provided me with great benefits that allowed me to not have to get a part-time job beyond my internships, which was hugely beneficial,” said Davis. “I could focus solely on my education, and I finished college debt-free, which would not have happened if I had gone other routes.”
Realizing how much the Army impacted his experience as a student, Davis decided that associating his civilian career in finance to his Army Reserve career would be mutually beneficial to both him and his employer.
Davis re-classed his military job to a financial management technician, furthering his education and experience in finance.
“After I started working as an investment consultant, I found it a lot easier to relate my reserve career to that field,” said Davis. “The overlapping skills required for both of my jobs created a conducive working relationship. I've gone further in my civilian career because of the Army.”
The concept of “Citizen Soldiers” mutually benefits Reserve members like Davis and their civilian employers. Companies gain employees with unique experience while simultaneously improving the readiness of the Army Reserve.
“Employers recognize that Soldiers have a little bit more seriousness and discipline to them,” said Davis. “They tend to be more reliable, and that's what employers want.”
Davis has been working with Scottrade Financial Services since 2009, and said the company has been very supportive, with the understanding that he does a lot to support them as well.
“I try to be one of the best employees that they have, and because I'm such a good employee, the company has been cooperative and even appreciative of my commitment with the Army Reserve. They allow me all the time I need for training or potential deployments,” he added.
This past spring, Davis' unit, the 395th Financial Management Support Unit of Salt Lake City, was suddenly called to mobilize. Although Davis did not deploy, the decision-making and planning process involved required an increased level of commitment from him and much more time away from work.
“My employer showed willingness to do whatever it took to release me from my obligations there,” said Davis. “And they did a lot to coordinate fill in support.”
He received that same consideration as he and the other members of the 395th recently converged on Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, to participate in an annual training exercise, Diamond Saber. Diamond Saber is just one of several reserve unit exercises being held as part of the 86th Training Division's Combat Support Training Exercise, a massive multi-component and joint endeavor providing units with real-world training to prepare them for missions around the world.
“This training, like all other Army Reserve training, is critical to ensuring our readiness as Soldiers,” Davis said. “The support I receive from my civilian workplace is stellar. I'm very appreciative of all that they do to make my training possible.”
By U.S. Army Pfc. Claudia Rocha
Provided through DVIDS
Comment on this article