This article was written by Carrie Castillo, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserve, currently serving with Special Operations Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve in Kuwait. Castillo hails from Lombard, Illinois (25 miles west of Chicago), and is currently in the 318th Press Camp Headquarters in Forest Park, Illinois.
CLIFFSIDE PARK, N.J. — For many, serving in the military is a great way to gain technical skills that can transpose to a civilian career or aid in earning a college degree. For Staff Sgt. Alexander Saldivar, originally from the Dominican Republic, he simply enlisted to serve the United States, the country that has been his home since the early 2000’s.
"I joined the Army in July 2006 to serve my country," Saldivar said.
"Since I was a kid, the military lifestyle had always caught my attention. Time really flies. I am now on 11 years of service."
Saldivar initially served in the active component of the Army until July 2011, stationed at Fort Drum, New York, as a 94H – test measurement and diagnostic equipment maintenance support specialist.
While serving at Fort Drum, he deployed to Iraq in support of Multi-National Division – North at Contingency Operating Base Speicher in 2009.
After his deployment, he returned to his home in Cliffside Park, and visited with his many nieces and nephews.
“I’m not married and I don’t have any kids,” said Saldivar. “I do, however, have a lot of nieces and nephews that I spend a lot of my time with.”
Once home he made the transition from active duty to the Army Reserve and chose to change his military occupational specialty to 35F – all-source intelligence analyst.
"I chose this MOS because I was always fascinated with the ‘secret squirrel’ life," said Saldivar. “
"You know, like James Bond type of cool things. But I found out it's really different in reality."
Since his transition to the Army Reserve, he hasn’t had time to be a civilian and go to a regular job. He has spent his time going to his MOS school and on orders for deployments including his current one with Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.
While working with SOJTF-OIR as the intelligence collection manager, Saldivar also made a determined decision to put a warrant officer application in for a chance to become a technical expert in his field.
"I chose the career path to better serve my country," Saldivar explained.
"By being a warrant officer, I will be able to serve in a capacity that will allow me to utilize more of my technical expertise and to positively impact operations while ensuring mission success."
Saldivar went on to explain he enjoys this MOS because of the complexity of some of the problem sets and the processes of solving such problems. Furthermore, he mentioned that he has gained a lot of experience in his short time here.
“I am able to negotiate and coordinate with different command levels to ensure mission success,” Saldivar said.
"This has been one of the skills I have developed the most here so far. I really enjoy being in the Army Reserve.
"There are opportunities to serve on different missions and high profile environments.
"I am always willing to utilize all of my skills to ensure the mission is accomplished as soon as possible."
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