FORT MCCOY, Wis. - When taking a casual glance at the Soldier's Army Combat Uniform, one can't help but notice the unique emblem sewn above his U.S. Army nametape.
As a matter of fact, the emblem in question ... known as the Surface Warfare Enlisted Badge ... isn't an award given by the Department of the Army. Warrant Officer David Lente, an all-source intelligence technician from the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command (ESC), was in the active-duty and reserve components of the U.S. Navy before making the transition to the Army Reserve.
Warrant Officer David Lente, an all-source intelligence technician from the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, poses by the sign of the 364th ESC as his unit provides support for the the 86th Training Division's Combat Support Training Exercise conducted in Fort McCoy, Wis., on Aug. 15, 2015. The purpose of CSTX is to converge units together in training environments that emulate the experiences and rigors of real-world missions. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Christopher A. Hernandez, 345th Public Affairs Detachment)
“In the Navy, I was hitting my 10-year mark and had actually looked at crossing over to [the Army] and becoming a warrant officer,” Lente explained. “So just having the opportunity to do that and be able to continue my military career was great because I love what I do.”
In 1989, Lente began his military career in the Navy as a damage controlman. While aboard numerous naval vessels on various assignments, Lente cross-trained on other skill sets in a way that resonates with his characteristic versatility.
“I learned basic engineering skills like diesel mechanics, hull maintenance, learning the main space like the engine room, and even basic plumbing,” Lente recalled.
After serving 10 years, Lente transitioned from active duty to the reserve component of the Navy. Lente then went to the Naval Intelligence School, attending classes every weekend for 14 months.
However, Lente finally decided to enlist in the Army Reserve after encountering issues with advancement in rank.
“I kept getting passed over for [chief petty officer] in the Navy Reserve ... so it was kind of like a pull of the trigger to move forward and cross over,” said Lente.
Lente then left the Navy Reserve in 2013, submitted his packet for Army Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS), received his notice of acceptance, and attended the course from June 4 to July 9.
“One thing that was significant about my [graduation] from warrant officer course is that July 9 is the birthday of the Warrant Officer Corps, which was created on July 9, 1918,” said Lente. “That's always going to be stuck in my head, and it's an honor to actually have graduated that same day.”
Lente brought over his prior knowledge of signal, human, imagery, and targeting types of intelligence when assigned to the 364th ESC, proving instrumental in training and real-world situations.
“So essentially, we gather all of the information, disseminate it, and push that information to different cells,” Lente described. “Additionally, we look at the pre-planning coming from different units that is passed down to us ...and see if it reflects on how it [works] in a live-action environment."
“If not accurate, we can communicate with these commands in building the pathways, mapping for these exercises, and perhaps give them pointers on what to do instead,” Lente said.
Surprisingly, Lente's civilian occupation differs greatly from his work in Army intelligence.
“In the civilian sector, I work in the medical field,” said Lente, a resident of Eugene, Oregon. “I've worked in the emergency room for 10 years, worked as a firefighter/paramedic for five and one-half years, and then recently got a job in the last three years to train physicians in computer applications.”
Lente also recounted his previous deployment experiences while in the Navy, starting with his involvement in the Persian Gulf War in 1991, serving in Iraq between 2006 and 2007, and a plethora of other overseas assignments.
“I was on an ammunition ship going into the Persian Gulf War and had the opportunity to serve on the USS Missouri since we had re-commissioned it,” Lente proudly said. “I was on it for a couple of weeks while [witnessing] all of the different countries coming together for that conflict."
“It was actually a moving part of my life to say that I've served on the USS Missouri,” Lente added.
When asked about who he regards as a personal source of inspiration, Lente recalls a friend of his who he met early in his Navy career.
“I have this friend of mine, a retired Navy SEAL Team 2 commander whose unit was involved in the 1983 operation in Grenada,” said Lente. “He's somebody I can look up to as an example to strive for what you want to achieve.”
Lente and the rest of the 364th ESC will continue to participate in the 86th Training Division's Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) conducted here. The 86th Training Division provides realistic and relevant training to ensure service members are prepared for any call of duty.
Lente said that his future aspirations include becoming an instructor for WOCS, acquiring even more knowledge and skill sets, and retiring as a chief warrant officer four.
“If you have that love for something, you should continue it, no matter what your age is or where you are in your career,” Lente earnestly advised.
By U.S. Army Spc. Christopher A. Hernandez
Provided through DVIDS
Comment on this article