By Army Sgt. James Hunter
Special to American Forces Press Service
June 25, 2008 - Without supplies, the Army couldn't conduct its missions. And without supply sergeants, soldiers couldn't get those supplies. Army Sgt. Jeremy Reynolds said his mission as a supply sergeant boils down to a few simple words: "supporting the warfighter."
"To me, my job is what makes or breaks how well our company [runs]," he said. "Without the support from supply, how well would we operate? Not very well, in my eyes. Supply is all about supporting the mission and the warfighter. I guess what I'm saying is supply is one of the most important jobs the Army has to offer."
Reynolds, 28, said he always knew the Army was the place for him. While growing up in Arlington, Texas, and playing sports -- rugby was a favorite -- he dreamed of the day he could don a military uniform.
In October 1998, he finally got that chance, and he served as a finance soldier at Fort Hood, Texas, and then in South Korea. In late 2002, Reynolds left the military, but he came back to the Army a year later, again in finance.
"I got out for all the wrong reasons; I missed it," Reynolds said. "I can honestly say I am one of very few who are now living their childhood dream."
Reynolds joined Detachment C, 39th Finance, based in Giessen, Germany. However, he said, he wasn't really happy with his career choice as a financial processor and wanted to have a more direct involvement with the warfighter soldiers.
So he went to supply school, with a follow-on assignment to the 101st Airborne Division's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, where he ensures his fellow supply soldiers are properly trained and that each soldier gets what he needs to accomplish the mission.
"My biggest thing is that I want to ensure that all soldiers within the company are able to get anything they need to complete their mission," Reynolds said. "I will do what it takes to get what needs getting. The job is a new challenge every day."
His day usually starts at around 5 a.m. as he heads out to conduct physical fitness training and then has "a cup or two of coffee," he said. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, he added, a supply truck arrives early in the morning to drop off previously ordered items.
From then until late into the night, his day is filled with training his soldiers to ensure the property book is up to par, paperwork is filed, sub-hand receipts are up to date, and his soldiers are helping to meet the requests of the warfighter – among myriad additional issues throughout the day.
Reynolds has three soldiers working for him, and only one of them has a supply background. Though it can be challenging at time, he said, he always has aspired to be a noncommissioned officer and have the opportunity to lead.
"Being an NCO is something I have always dreamed about. I have soldiers I get to train every day," Reynolds said. "I have the ability to take soldiers under my wing and help them improve themselves and excel in the Army.
Though being a leader can be hard work, he said, it's especially rewarding when those efforts yield results.
"When one of my soldiers learns something new, gets rewarded, or something as simple as doing the right thing, the feeling I get inside is unexplainable," Reynolds said. "What I'm trying to say is that is so special to me because of the soldiers."
Reynolds said he has three goals as an NCO: to mold the best possible soldiers, to make the Army a positive experience for his soldiers, and to improve his leadership ability constantly to help make great soldiers.
"I want my soldiers to know that I really do care, and I will do whatever is best for them," he said. "I will put myself through hell to make sure they have what they want and have the opportunity to excel. I want them to know its all about them."
His peers see him as a go-getter, leading from the front.
"I would describe him as a caring, but firm, leader who truly cares about the mission and the welfare of his soldiers," said Army 1st Sgt. William Plummer, a native of McGregor, Minn. "He is a great mentor to his soldiers, takes the time to show, teach and mentor them on all tasks related to supply operation and the support of the BCT staff with [high-priority] and short-notice requests."
Plummer, as the company's senior enlisted leader, said he sees the supply shop daily and has rarely seen one operate as smoothly in his 24 years of service.
"It is the best-run, and has the shortest turnaround of requests that are not on hand to be filled," Plummer said. "He truly cares about the mission of the BCT, ensuring that they have the proper equipment and supplies from vehicles and weapons to paper."
(Army Sgt. James Hunter serves in Multinational Division Baghdad with the 101st Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office.)